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  • Writer's picturemarcus bessin

5 benefits of training in the park vs the gym

Updated: Mar 4

Unless you're going out for a run, getting fitter is generally associated with going to the gym. More and more people are starting to see the benefits of moving their training sessions outside, especially since lockdown. I'm personally someone who trains mostly in the park and I can't really imagine it any other way, Whilst of course there are a few disadvantages of training outdoors vs the gym, I'll break down of some key benefits in this blog.

Getting sunlight to your eyes, especially in the morning.

Thanks to the work and professing of Dr. Andrew Huberman, we now know just how critical getting sunlight to your eyes (especially in the mornings) for improved energy, sleep, mood and focus throughout the day! Just 5 minutes on a sunny day or 15-20 minutes on an overcast day is enough to optimise neuromodulators like dopamine and norepinephrine (adrenaline) as well as hormones like cortisol to keep your mood in good stead for the day.

Viewing sunlight in the day also sets yourself up well for better sleep that night. Sunlight to skin also increases testosterone, oestrogen, libido and mood in both men and women.

Not to mention the vitamin D you naturally get from the sun. Disclaimer, we're all clever and sensible people here, no looking directly at the sun in full pelt.

Space, not stuffiness

Stuffiness in the gym, especially at peak times can be enough to suffocate even the least claustrophobic people. This reason alone is why I transitioned to outdoor personal trainer from gym personal trainer. Depending on the park and time of day, you can find yourself with hardly anyone in sight, a feeling I can describe as a privilege, like getting an upgrade at a hotel for no reason. Im fortunate enough that all locations I train clients in are scenic with pleasant surrounding at any time of the year.

All to yourself

There's no shared space or equipment. You just turn up and train without having your workout halted from someone else using the mat area. Although If you want to use pull up bars for example, there are some parks to avoid at particular times. For example, you may want to avoid London Fields calisthenics area, especially on a summer afternoon. That's where the Venice beach comparisons become clear, vascular, shredded guys posturing with shirts off and 5 minute waiting times for the dip bar, that kind of thing.

Train to your beat

With enough space around you, putting in your own music on a speaker is one the true joys of training outdoors. In gyms you're stuck with their playlists, and as hard as they try to make it appealing to everyone, there's a big chance it's just not your thing. I personally love training with my music amplified, I feel a bit too encapsulated with headphones in. All good as long as you're not blaring drill music next to a lady doing yoga!

I love the sense of freedom that comes with outdoor training. Every day is unique, you never get the same weather twice. Even on a crisp winter day I still encourage you to go and and try it, your body warms up to it and it can be quite special.

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