Have you ever wondered whether you’d be better off exercising indoors versus outdoors? While this article is geared toward the average healthy exerciser, a consideration of these points is especially important for people recovering from serious illness and with disabilities. Read on and out more than you ever imagined about the pros and cons of indoor exercise. For your convenience I’ve put each major advantage in bold and cover disadvantages at the end of the article. Speaking of convenience – that’s our first advantage.
It’s often easier to exercise indoors, especially if you have a fully equipped home gym or live in a busy urban area. Just change your clothes, walk into your workout room (or around the corner to your gym) and you’re ready to go. The equipment is waiting for you, there’s (ideally) plenty of space to do your thing, and mirrors to check your performance. At the gym you should also have easy access to certified personal trainers and aerobics instructors for extra one on one or group instruction. If you’re working out at home or have a gym that’s open 24 hours a day you can exercise at any time that works for you instead of being inconvenienced by lack of light at night.
Climate and Temperature Control
When exercising indoors you (or your gym manager) control the temperature and you avoid being exposed to rain, sleet, hail and other inclement weather. This is especially important if you live somewhere where it gets really hot or cold or has a lot of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet etc.). You avoid roasting in the sun and freezing in the cold. This is especially important for people with medical conditions such as asthma and many immune diseases.
Indoors you’re usually protected from traffic, violent crime, air pollution, ozone poisoning and sun damage. If you’re working out in a gym they probably have a security system in place and they usually have personal trainers keeping an eye out on the exercisers and watching for signs of improper form (that could lead to injury) or impending serious health issues (e.g., collapse, heart attack).
It’s handy to have gym equipment at your disposal. When used properly, the equipment is often safer and more controlled than the equivalent exercises outdoors. There’s also a wide variety of equipment available at the gym. In one hour you can split your cardio between a rowing machine, treadmill, elliptical and stair climber. There are probably balance balls, kettle balls, bosu trainers, jump ropes and more. You may have access to a rock climbing wall (with all the necessary safety paraphernalia).
Many exercise and dance classes are offered indoors only, especially in areas of the country with four seasons. My favorite aerobics class, Zumba, is only offered indoors so if I want to play I have to opt for an indoor workout.
At home you can watch your own library of exercise programs, whether on television, DVD or downloaded from the internet. At the gym you can usually watch television and sometimes can watch movies or even play video games while working out. Personally, I have over 50 different exercise dvds in my home gym library not to mention the 24/7 exercise programs on Fit TV or the web, so even if I never leave the house, there’s a wide variety of workouts at my fingertips.
Help Fuel Your Local Economy
If you’re paying a local gym at least some of that money should be helping to employ people in your own community and fund their taxes to your county and state.
Disadvantages to Consider
Lack of Variety: If you don’t work hard at keeping things fresh (for example, trying new classes or equipment, adding new exercises or moves to your routine), it’s easy for your workouts to become boring or hit a plateau in your progress toward achieving your goals. Motivational Challenges: If you workout at home or don’t have someone expecting you at the gym you need to be very self motivated or it’s easy to skip a workout (and one skipped workout easily turns into two then three and then before you know it weeks or months have passed). Little to No Connection with Nature: This one’s self explanatory. Even if you play one of those outdoor exercise simulation DVDs it’s not the same as the real thing.
As you can see, there are many advantages and several disadvantages to working out indoors. Only you can decide which is best for you, and that may vary from day to day. There’s no law saying you have to exercise exclusively indoors or outdoors (although if your doctor recommends one or the other I’d follow her advice!). I hope these advantages and disadvantages have helped you make your decision. Regardless of which you choose, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.