This time of year, debating between hitting the gym and kicking it outside can be as tricky as choosing between hot or iced coffee. Here to make your life easier? Research. Check out the perks and pitfalls of both, so you can get exactly what you want from your workout.
- Perk: More Intensity. Without natural distractions that are annoying (gah, wind) or cool (what a view!), you can laser-focus on your routine, allowing you to maintain your level of ferocity.
- Perk: Better Results. Increased intensity brings greater physiological changes, as in more fat loss and a stronger cardiovascular system.
- Pitfall: Are We Done Yet? There’s not much stimulation to keep you motivated on the treadmill—though endorphins, in any setting, do help. (Beat workout boredom with Women’s Health’s Ignite routine by 2015 Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger!)
- Perk: Reduced Stress. Studies show people have less anxiety after exercising alfresco. Green spaces are inherently calming, giving your antsy mind a rest.
- Perk: Stick-to-it-iveness. That soothing feeling? It’s pretty addictive. If you’re starting a new program, begin outside to lock down the habit—then take it indoors when temps plummet.
- Pitfall: Ugh, Rain. You have to prepare yourself for unexpected variables that may cramp your game. Not ideal if you’re training for speed.