04/02/2011 13:58 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Forget The Gym, Outdoor Exercise Is Best For Wellbeing

woman-running-great-outdoors Exercising outdoors makes you feel great. Photo: Getty

If you want to feel great as well as look fit, wrap up and head outdoors for your regular exercise session. That's the verdict of US scientists who claim exercising in a natural environment brings both mental and physical wellbeing benefits compared to slogging away indoors.

Writing in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers analysed a range of existing studies that compared the health and wellbeing effects of outdoor exercise with that of indoor exercise.

Most of the studies, the researchers claim, suggest exercising outdoors makes people feel more revitalised, gives them more energy and is better at reducing tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to exercising indoors.

What the studies don't show, however, is whether or not people exercise more regularly when they head outdoors. At this time of year, when many of us struggle to get off the sofa, we suspect we already know the answer to that.

"Some 75% of the European population now live in urban environments, so increasing efforts need to be made to re-connect people with nature," says Professor Michael Depledge, the study's senior author.

"Our research adds significant weight to the case for spending more time in the natural environment as members of the public fight to counteract the negative outcomes of modern living, such as obesity and depression."

Would it hurt, we wonder, if we waited until spring to start looking for our running shoes?

Are you out there in all weathers? Tell us how you do it.

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