Outdoor Exercise: 8 Reasons to Take Your Workout Routine Outside

There's some surprising research that says outdoor exercise may be the best way to lose weight, feel pretty great, and even get smarter.

You'll Want to Exercise

Your 2013 get-fit plan got old faster than "Gangnam Style"? Breathe some fresh air into a tired routine (hey, the weather's on your side), and chances are, you won't blow off your next workout.

The Proof: You're 23 percent more likely to repeat an outdoor workout, or so an Ohio State University study suggests.

A group of 20-something women compared doing the same workout (they were walkers) indoors versus out, and no-walls won because it felt more, wait for it, fun!

More: Your Outdoor Circuit: 3 Full-Body TRX Moves

No More I-Can't-Sleep Nights

Choose a sunrise workout and you could fall asleep when you want at night—up to an hour sooner.

The Proof: Natural a.m. light resets circadian rhythms, so it may be easier to nod off, say experts at the Lighting Research Center in Troy, New York. Avoid a sunset session; it can delay melatonin release, making it tougher.

MORE FROM SELF: New Study: Less Sleep May Equal Pounds Gained ?

You: "Why is This so Easy?"

Just seeing the color green while you move might make you feel superhuman.

The Proof: Cyclists rated a ride 10 percent easier with a green backdrop, likely due to its calming effect, finds a study in Environmental Science & Technology. Thank you, trees.

More: Playground Fitness: 6 Cross-Training Games

It's Like Prozac!

Exit building, enter happy zone.

The Proof: After a measly five minutes of any outdoor exercise, you're happier and more confident, a University of Essex study finds. Best news: That lift can last all day.

MORE FROM SELF: Your 3 Biggest Stressors, Solved ?

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About the Author

Marissa Stephenson

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.
SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

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