Outdoor Fitness and Mental Health

Green Fitness to Beat the Blues | The Benefits of Outdoor Fitness Equipment | Sunshine Gym

A study suggests a link between mental health benefits and exercising outside.

Medical research has proven the strong mental health benefits of exercise again and again.

But what if we told you outdoor fitness could enhance these benefits even further?

At Sunshine Gym we have long believed that the location of outdoor gym equipment really enriches user experience. We think fresh air makes you happy and relieves the pressure of competitive gyms. For us, the simple satisfaction of a user-friendly resource is all the proof we need!

However, a review from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry suggests there’s even more behind this theory…

What did the study find about the mental benefits of exercising outside?

The study was based on results of indoor and outdoor exercise trials. It was found that the wellbeing outcomes of both types of exercise showed an improvement.

The most noteworthy aspect of this study is seen when looking at which outdoor results were ‘better’ than indoor results.

On average, the following sensations/benefits were reportedly even stronger after exercising outside, than they were after indoor activities:

  • Revitalisation
  • Increased energy
  • Positive engagement
  • Enjoyment and satisfaction

Similarly, it seems exercising outside decreased the following sensations even further than indoor exercise did:

  • Tension
  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Depression

We think this is remarkable news! Not only does it confirm what we’ve always thought about exercising outside and its benefits, it also shows improvements in self-reported mental wellbeing.

We all know exercise is a huge factor in improving mental health, so why not try to maximise the benefits? Furthermore, the happier and more satisfied you feel immediately after exercise, the more likely you are to keep the activity up.

A bright future with Sunshine Gym

More in-depth trials and studies would be needed to clarify the causes behind these effects. Regardless of the psychological and biological reasons, a personal, positive response is a wonderful step forward.

Thorough scientific research can take an awfully long time and is dependent on various factors – funding, methodology, processing results etc. Therefore, even though this review no longer breaking news, it’s still considered relatively recent. It’s great that a study has established this connection, but that’s just the start of a long process.

We’d like to see this process continue!

We hope these findings encourage further research into the vast and wonderful psychological effects of outdoor fitness. Until then, we hope you will carry on reaping all the mental and physical benefits associated with exercising in the great outdoors.



J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge.

‘Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review.’

Environmental Science & Technology, 2011

Mental Health Foundation - Sunshine Gym | Are the mental benefits of exercising stronger when they're outdoors?