Indoor vs. Outdoor Exercise: Pros & Cons Of Your Workout Environment

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:15am

By Michele Silence, MA

Indoor workouts are great during fall and winter. However, during the spring and summer months the outdoors call us to go outside. Don’t feel you have to move your exercise just because of the weather, though. There are definitely pros and cons to each option.

Indoor exercise

Pro: A stable environment facilitates a regular exercise routine

When you exercise indoors it’s easy to get into a regular routine. There’s never a problem if the weather is too hot, cold, rainy, or otherwise. The workout doesn’t rely on other outside factors like the time of day, where you are, or other things. If you’re the type of person who needs to have a strict exercise routine to stay on track, the indoor route may be best for you. Whether it’s your house or the gym, it offers a stable, consistent workout time and time again. You don’t have to think about it; it’s just there.

Pro: Working out in a gym is motivating and a social opportunity

Gym workouts offer the benefit of interacting with others. Having others exercising right next to you can really boost your effort and performance, thereby giving you greater results in a shorter time. You open yourself up to talking to others too. It can help you develop new relationships and give you other reasons to exercise besides health or appearance.

Con: Home workouts can be distracting

For workouts in the home, there may be too many distractions for a productive routine. Things like the telephone, neighbors, mail, pets and children can all put a damper on the most well-intentioned program. If you have a choice of indoor workout locations, pick the gym or a fitness studio instead of your home. At home you’ll be fighting the tendency to take care of other things every time you look around. It’s less tempting to do something that ‘needs to get done’ if you’re away from home. And, you’ll have more room to move about.

For further examples of indoor activities see the following articles from TheDietChannel: Indoor activities: What are good exercises for the winter months? and Exercise DVDs: General Info.


Outdoor exercise

Pro: Being outside is pleasurable

When you exercise outdoors, you can enjoy the beauty of nature. You’ll see and hear the birds. Your senses will get drawn into the surroundings as you experience the air, sounds, smells, textures and sights. If you live in a less than beautiful neighborhood, the view may not be too motivating. However, in the country or suburbs the homes and gardens may give your day the serene beginning you need.

Pro: If you don’t want to socialize during your workout, it’s easiest to avoid outside

You’ll see other people especially if you exercise in the same place and at the same time every day, but you can always pass by without interacting. It’s easier to escape another person outside. If you don’t want to interact with anyone, you’re better off here.

Con: Weather and physical obstacles provide a good excuse to stay home

When you exercise outside you must deal with weather changes, which means you must be highly motivated to do your routine daily without the interest and push from others. There my not be any friends waiting for you either. Pavement and footing isn’t always flat and stable so if you’re prone to ankle problems you’ll have to really watch it. And if it’s raining, the cozy bed may help you keep your eyes shut more than propel you into action.

Whichever location you choose for your workouts remember: The important thing is that you are working out. Making your body move is your number one concern. It doesn’t matter to your body if you’re inside or out. It will be happy exercising no matter what, and reward you with the riches of good health in return.