4 aspire Winter 2019 IT’SWINTER in the Midwest. The cold and snow alter the fitness landscape—sending many back to their local indoor exercise facility. Others layer up and hit the trails—or the slopes. Indoor and outdoor exercise each has its advantages and drawbacks, but which is better? Aspirus has fitness centers in several communities. Go online to aspirus.org to find one near you. Indoors or out? EXERCISE Outdoorexercise One thing outdoor exercise has going for it is that many people are often happier when outside. “Many people find being outside contributes to their sense of vitality,” said Aspirus physical therapist Emily Teetzen. “It makes them feel more energetic and lively.” In one experiment reported in the Journal of Environmental Psychology , students were randomly assigned to groups that would take a 15-minute walk either inside or outside each day. The students who walked outside reported they felt more energetic and positive. Outdoor exercise has also been shown to be very beneficial for children—and the benefits go beyond the physical. A study from the University of Missouri – Kansas City said it also helps develop social, emotional and cognitive competencies. Children are spending less and less time outdoors, so exercise can be a great way to get out in the air. Exercising outdoors can be easier on your wallet too. Going without a gym membership for six months of the year could save you hundreds of dollars. You may want to invest in sunscreen, good shoes and some weather-friendly workout clothes, but you’re still likely to spend less than the average gym pass. The downside: It’s really cold out there! Indoorexercise A gym is more geared to group activities. Hitting the gym with a buddy—or taking an exercise class— may be a better option for those who need extra motivation to make their workout happen. A study from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology reported that people who work out with a partner are generally more motivated than solo exercisers. Another perk? Safety. Indoor exercise can cut down on injuries. Experts from the American College of Sports Medicine found that group workouts led by a certified instructor ensure participants get a safe and effective workout, learn proper cues and stay accountable. A gym also offers more direction—and not just in class. The bench press, squat rack and dumbbells offer the structure that many desire for their exercise routine. An indoor facility will also have many machines and other tools that can be used to help isolate muscles and work on strengthening any injury-prone areas. Thewinner is... That’s up to you! But remember, you aren’t limited to one or the other. Feel free to mix it up. Many facilities offer group exercise classes outdoors. The important thing is to get the appropriate daily exercise. And as for the cold temperatures…they’re coming back next year. So plan accordingly.