23/05/2014 09:43 BST | Updated 23/07/2014 06:59 BST

5 Reasons You Should Swap Your Gym For The Park This Summer

Since leaving work (and hence the work gym) I have been gym shopping around, and free-riding any short-term memberships going. However, today I learnt that you don't always need a physical gym, with all of its apparatus, membership fees and crowded changing rooms to get fit. In fact I had one of my most intense workouts this year right here in my local park. I feel amazing, and would recommend substituting a gym session or two for an outdoor workout. Here are my top five reasons in support of exercising outdoors this summer:

1. Zero Membership Fees

Need I say more? For those watching the pounds (both kinds) and looking to cut back on their expenses, working out in the great outdoors won't cost you a penny, and proves to be twice as rewarding. Besides, statistics tell us that 67% of people with a gym membership never even use it.*

2. The Weather

Let's be honest, some people have guts of steel and can be found running outdoors come rain or shine, frost or snow. For the rest of us, summer is probably the only time of year that you can be outside for a reasonable length of time without wanting to run towards the closest central heating. Thanks to daylight saving and it being lighter earlier and later in the day, most of us have no excuse not to squeeze in a cheeky 30minute workout before or after work.

3. Sunshine

Although if you are based in England, the sunshine is debatable, it's definitely worth the fresh air and vitamin D, which is proven to improve mood.

4. Beautiful Scenery

You may not be on a beach in Thailand, but being outdoors amongst the grass, the trees, and the pitter patter of laughing children can help improve overall wellbeing and mental health. It sure beats facing a grey wall on the treadmill.

5. It's More Challenging

Being outside, you are up against more natural obstacles- the wind, the uneven ground, even the park bench can be the foundation for a challenging workout! (as I learned today) Also being surrounded by such vast scenery in a changing environment (as you run) means that time is likely to pass more quickly for you and you will consequently burn more calories. Result!

*This article first appeared on www.romygrace.com

*Research conducted by Nuffield Health, source www.statisticbrain.com