If you want to feel happier, then you should workout outdoors rather than indoors, according to a new study.
It is no secret that spending time outdoors can be great for your physical health but these days, more and more research is coming out on the benefits of spending time outdoors and its positive impact on your mental state.
It makes sense, since spending time outside allows you to escape your normal routine, avoid the hustle and bustle of busy offices and streets, and breathe in the fresh air.
In a randomized crossover study, researchers exposed 42 normally healthy individuals to three different forms of exercise. The individuals spent three hours walking on an indoor treadmill, mountain hiking, and then three hours in a controlled sedentary situation. Researchers were looking for any changes in feeling and mood across the participants.
It may come as no surprise to many that outdoor hiking came out on top in nearly every single category.
The hike took place in Innsbruck, Austria at a decent average pace of 3.2mph. At the beginning of the hike, the group was assessed to gauge their feelings and mental state. They were assessed further at the peak of their hike 1.5 hours and 600m later, then again at the end of the hike.
Of course, there is absolutely no surprise that an outdoor hike trumps being sedentary, however, it was interesting to see that it also trumps an indoor walk on the treadmill of equivalent time and distance.
Interestingly, we can see from the study that mountain hiking elicits higher levels of arousal and significantly lower levels of fatigue than treadmill walking. It is thought that visual stimulus of nature can produce a positive reaction and greater feelings of revitalization.
Whether there’s a study to back it or not, we’d always prefer to opt outside.