As winter drags on motivation to exercise may be hard to come by and it can be even tougher to get your workout done outdoors. There’s no doubt that nature can be a great spot for fitness, but there are benefits to sticking to workouts inside too.
Even as winter turns to spring, you might want to keep up your gym or at-home fitness routine and that’s great. The most important aspect of fitness isn’t where you do it, but it’s that you do it at all—though indoor workouts come with a few added incentives.
#1 Exercising in “social spaces” is often a great motivator. A study done by the University of Southern California found that people who went to a fitness center and engaged in the community were more motivated, satisfied and attended the gym more than those who did not connect with a fitness community.
#2 Machines like treadmills and ellipticals can help keep pace. Trying to maintain a steady running pace outdoors can be tricky and requires some focus, indoor machines allow you to set the pace and control your course without giving it a second thought.
#3 You can ignore the weather and wear whatever feels most comfortable. Gone are the days when you bundle up three layers deep to make it outside for a winter workout, only to realize that you can’t move the way you want. Ill-fitting clothing can be a major distraction, taking your head out of the workout—indoors you can wear whatever you want.
#4 Outdoor environmental factors—like pollen or pollution—may cause respiratory problems. During exercise, we take in more oxygen through our mouths, bypassing the filters in our nasal passages. According to the Mayo Clinic that means highly polluted areas can spell trouble for exercisers. Those with asthma, respiratory disease, diabetes and heart or lung conditions should be especially careful of air conditions during exercise.