Exercise has proven to help improve one’s mood as well as to reduce anxiety. However, instead of using the treadmill or stationary bike in a gym, it may be even more beneficial to exercise outdoors according to new research conducted in Austria.
One of the problems with exercising indoors is that for many people, it’s not a lot of fun. It’s one of the reasons why experts have recommended focusing on short, intense workouts. This cuts down on the time needed to spend on them in order to get the benefits of exercising. While people who do this are often happy with the results and with the short duration, they still don’t have fun doing it, which makes it difficult for many people to keep it up.
The new study focused on whether a longer workout at a lower intensity would result in a more enjoyable experience and whether that would then contribute to people sticking to their exercise plans. The study involved 40 healthy subjects in Austria. They completed a number of questionnaires regarding their general moods and anxiety levels.
The subjects then participated in prolonged workouts that were low on intensity, including going through a hike in the mountains. They were asked to move at a brisk pace, but not one that was strenuous, while they wore heart rate monitors. They walked fast enough for it to require work, but slow enough so that they could speak with one another as they hiked. The hike lasted roughly three hours.
The next day, the subjects performed the same workout on a treadmill inside of a gym, using the same incline as the mountain. According to the heart monitors, hiking the mountain was more strenuous than using the treadmills; however, every participant felt that the outdoor hike was actually less strenuous than the treadmill. Mood scores, which were recorded following both workouts, indicated that they enjoyed the hike more as well.