1. Just five minutes of running outside can make you feel better about life.
2. Those five minutes may also help you live longer.
3. Exercise also makes you happy. And the more you do it, the happier it makes you.
4. You might even improve your memory and attention — just from being outside.
5. You'll also get the vitamin D you need for strong bones.
6. And thanks to wind resistance, you'll get a better workout.
The wind in your hair means you're exercising harder and so, getting more out of your workout. At the same pace, you'll burn more calories when you run outside than on a treadmill, according to a 1996 study. (If you must use a treadmill, increase the incline to 1% to simulate the outdoors.)
7. And if you listen to music, you're doing yourself an extra health service.
8. Running outside is also A LOT quicker than going to the gym.
Going to the gym means spending the time going there, coming back, swiping your membership card, putting your stuff in a locker, taking it out of the locker, talking to the weird guy who won't leave you alone, and at some point in between all that, working out. Running outside starts as soon as you walk out the door, you can leave your stuff in your room, and nobody will try to talk to you because now, you're actually moving.
9. (And a heckuva lot cheaper.)
10. Exercising outdoors makes you more likely to want to keep exercising.
In 2011, researchers found that participants who exercised outdoors were more likely to say they wanted to do it again. And though the review noted that high quality data was lacking, this finding was supported by a 2012 study that found that older adults that exercised outdoors exercised more than those who exercised indoors.
11. Maybe that's because exercising outdoors just ~feels~ better.
Though researchers said studies on the topic were sparse, a 2011 review of available data found that, exercising in natural environments was connected to "greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy." In 2012, the Telegraph reported that, according to a University of Glasgow study, the mental health boost from outdoor exercise was TWICE that of indoor exercise.