What are the Benefits of Running Outdoors?

words Alexa Wang

Running is one of the best forms of exercise to keep you in shape. Besides improving your cardiovascular health, your legs, glutes, and core are being pushed to their limits and you build on muscular endurance each progressively challenging run. 

Whether it’s hopping on the treadmill or being outdoors, running is cheap and versatile. However, there are slight differences between those two scenarios. While I personally use the treadmill, I do enjoy running outdoors occasionally. In this article, we’ll take a look at four benefits of outdoor running why you may want to consider including it in your fitness routine.

Running benefits

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Sun exposure is good for you

When was the last time you got mad because the sun was up? Exposure to sunlight is thought to trigger the release of serotonin in your brain. This hormone is responsible for stabilizing one’s mood and generally increase happiness. Feeling stressed out from work? Lace-up, put the music on, and hit the pavement!

However, while you absorb all that sun’s glory, be sure to wear adequate sunblock to protect your skin from the harms of prolonged UV damage. Your eyes are just as exposed and often don’t get enough attention. The best running sunglasses have UV protection for this purpose.

Besides improving your mood, when your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body makes vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed in calcium absorption and helps you maintain strong bones and improved gut health.

Fresh Air

Not all gyms are equipped with good HVAC systems because they are often expensive to run. As everyone else around you is exhaling, they are releasing carbon dioxide and other gaseous waste. With poor air circulation, you may be inhaling a fair dose of this concoction. 

While this isn’t life-threatening for most people, it can induce a feeling of nausea and premature fatigue. People who already have respiratory issues might experience some nasal congestion. This build-up of stale air can really dampen your mental and athletic performance. When you are running, you need that constant dose of fresh, high-quality air to ensure your muscles (and brain) get enough oxygen to dispose of all that lactic acid in your muscles effectively. 

If you live in the city and don’t have quick access to nature trails, your best bet would be going to the parks to minimize inhaling the soot from vehicles. Also, it’s probably the best way to avoid catching COVID-19 in the gym!

Reduces the chance of injury

When you’re running outdoors, the pavement or trails are never a smooth, even surface like the treadmill platform. And this isn’t a bad thing, either. Overuse injuries from running are fairly common. This is when there is damage to your tissues from repetitive, demanding activities over time. Since the treadmill is flat, you’re putting constant stress on the same joints and muscles. With outdoor running, you’re always changing directions, jumping over potholes, and buzzing through various, random elevations. This changes the movement patterns of your joints and in short, may greatly reduce the chances of overuse injury.

Tests your fortitude

While most people loathe the idea of running in the rain, snow, and harsh wind, some people enjoy it. It is a great way to gauge your willpower and determination when the conditions aren’t “right” for running. Personally, I dread the thought of it. But once my gears get going and the music is right, I feel unstoppable and get a kick out of every gust of biting wind coming my way!

There are many ways to step out of your comfort zone. I just find lacing up and running the quickest method.


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