7 Reasons to Take Your Workout Outside

Blow off the dark, dreary gym and step into the sunlight.

ByABC News
September 14, 2012, 1:09 PM

Sept. 15, 2012— -- Think hitting the gym is hard? It's even tougher when beautiful summer weather beckons you to ditch the four walls and stale air of the indoors for the sun and breeze outside.

Stop ignoring your instincts! Nature is a perfect bikini-body training ground. Here are seven reasons to blow off the dark, dreary gym and step into the sunlight.

You'll Go for Longer

Leave the magazines at home and head out for an exploratory run through your 'hood. You'll be surprised how much faster time travels when you aren't in the gym.

"Changing your routine, seeing new faces, taking in the scenic shrubberythis all helps combat workout boredom," says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of the Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. To top it off, a grueling workout may not seem so, er, grueling. "When you're distracted by the environment, you're less aware of your effort, such as how far you've run or how much your quads burn." Heck, you might even double your workout to 60 minutes without even knowing it.

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You'll Blast More Calories

It's easy to get in a fitness rut when your body knows exactly what to expect from your gym machines like the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. The varied terrain of a park might be just what your body need to challenge itself to move in varied, more complex ways, says Stacy Berman, founder and creator of outdoor exercise class, Stacy's Bootcamp. Factor in wind (Mama Nature's form of resistance training), temps (the hotter the weather, the harder your body has to work to cool down), and other external variables, you can end up torching 5 to 7 percent more calories just by trading the treadmill for trails.

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You'll Save Money

Gym memberships aren't cheap. They can drain your bank account—85 percent of Americans spend up to 600 dollars per year on their facilities, and 15 percent pay even more--which can feel like a real waste if you're more of a no-show than gym rat. The smaller investment in a home gym can even be a waste of money for some: American households spend on average 130 dollars annually on sports and exercise equipment. Besides cutting your fitness bills, running out your front door can save you cash on gas.

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