20 Reasons to Stay In: Why Working Out Indoors Is Better

Kate Hughes
by Kate Hughes
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20 Reasons to Stay In: Why Working Out Indoors Is Better

For every athlete who waxes poetic about exercising outside, there’s a dedicated indoor athlete who knows the truth: indoors trumps outdoors. “Impossible,” say the explorers sprinting up the trails. Well, here are 20 rebuttals to the starry-eyed naturalist.

An ode to the indoors — and all the ways you just can’t beat it.

Indoors doesn’t honk.

Indoors doesn’t rain.

Indoors protects from bugs.

Indoors means no bug spray, no sunscreen and no silly hats.

Indoors removes distractions.

Indoors offers focal points.

Indoors, daydreaming is encouraged.

Indoors, binge-watching is acceptable.

Indoors, your reflection corrects your form.

Indoors keeps water nearby.

Indoors is never dark.

Indoors is steady terrain.

Indoors is hills on demand.

Indoors is downhills on demand.

Indoors is the sound of your gait.

Indoors has no stoplights.

Indoors offers stowage.

Indoors, wind tunnels are fiction.

Indoors has no commute.

Indoors is the sound of your breath.

Indoors is animal-free.

Indoors isn’t idealistic, romantic or head-in-the-clouds.

Indoors is just the good old-fashioned work.

And our closing argument? Two words: air conditioning.

About the Author

Kate Hughes
Kate Hughes

Kate is a Brooklyn-based writer whose health, fashion, and lifestyle work has appeared in Self, Vice, and Vogue. When she’s not tackling inclines with her jogging stroller, she’s following all things athleisure. See what she’s up to on her website and at @katehughesnyc.


29 responses to “20 Reasons to Stay In: Why Working Out Indoors Is Better”

  1. Avatar Sarah Barres says:

    I concur! And I LOVE working out in the great outdoors. The benefits to exercising outdoors are obvious, working out indoors maybe not so much. And if you live in Florida you pretty much don’t have a choice during the rainy season, i.e., summer. Great and timely article!

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    Outdoors is sunshine, fresh air, and Vitamin D.

    Outdoors is one step outside your door.

    Outdoors is playing in the rain and snow and ice.

  3. Avatar Mandy McC. says:

    Outside is free. Indoors justifications sound like someone who likes to take the easy road in life.

    • Avatar Stella says:

      While I respect your opinion, I do think it is a little harsh and judgemental. I have health issues that make exercising outdoors an impossibility.. That being said, I have crossed many hurdles and obstacles and NEVER have I taken the easy road in life.
      Having a preference of exercise location is just that; a preference. It certainly does NOT define an individual”s ambition, strength or personality.

    • Avatar La Bandita says:

      That’s so narrowed minded. Having a preference is just that – a preference.

      Most training for any major sport are done indoors AND outdoors weather permitting.

      Sometimes the gyms are packed. And sometimes Im not running thru snow. So pluck snow and pluck sweaty gyms.

      BUT snow is beautiful and gyms are heated w/fresh towels. Look at me having options to stay in shape.

  4. Avatar Quotiditoz says:

    Indoors is full of distractions…like work work and chairs to sit in. Unless you’re willing to cough up some coin for a gym membership.

    Rain, bugs, dogs, and honking cars have never stopped me. Sunshine, fresh air, and scenery motivate me.

    I wouldn’t say either one is better in general…but for me it’s definitely outside. For others it’s definitely indoors. So this article is kinda….meh.

  5. Avatar Tricia says:

    Indoors has pottys.

  6. Avatar Audra Thrush says:


  7. Avatar Steve says:

    Outdoors are adventures
    Outdoors have variety

  8. Avatar Jane says:

    Never commented on anything like this before but indoors is madness!
    Outdoors creates a wonderful sense of wellbeing.
    Really can’t believe a fitness person is advocating it!

    • Avatar spikedirt says:

      They play basketball, baseball, football, hockey, track and field, gymnastics, and many other sports indoors indoors. Why wouldn’t an athlete advocate it? I generally choose outdoors first but I have no problem jumping on the treadmill when it’s raining outside.

  9. Avatar Christine Anderson says:

    LOL – This article pretty much outlines all the reasons I despise exercising indoors and think outdoors is better in every single way! I guess outdoor workouts in Brooklyn are the pits, but my outdoors doesn’t honk – wind rustles in trees and birds sing in the canopy above. I love walking in the rain. I love hiking at night and seeing the stars above me and hearing owls and whippoorwills in the forest. I look awesome in silly hats. I love taking a break from screentime. I love seeing wildlife on the trail – I saw a fawn being born just last week, and it was magical. I love hearing the sound of my breath moving in rhythm with my heartbeat (I don’t hear my breath at all at the gym at all because it’s drowned out by music and the sound of weights clanking and cardio machines humming). My backpack is great ‘stowage’. My Camelbak provides water on demand – I don’t even have to lift a bottle to my mouth. No artificial “hill” in the gym is ever going to challenge me like climbing up the side of a mountain. And, unsteady terrain is good for challenging my balance and core strength. Climbing a mountain is the original ‘good old fashioned work’ – way more timeless than churning away on an elliptical or doing squats in a rack. Outdoors for the win… there is no substitute!

    • Avatar Michael Ober says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. Good writing.

    • Avatar spikedirt says:

      Some people like their mashed potatoes smooth. I like mine lumpy. That’s what makes a ball game.

    • Avatar JDVinWV says:

      There are plenty of substitutes! Thankfully we don’t always have to do things the same way. I just KNEW this article would bring on a bunch of whining.

  10. Avatar Sarah says:

    I never comment on these articles…but seriously?! The writer must be a first-class baby. I work outside (horses), so heck yeah I also want to get my fitness on outdoors! There’s nothing more inspiring and amazing than going for a bicycle ride, seeing the fields, forests, river, birds, bugs, everything you miss out on when you’re stuck inside a boring building. Binge watch TV while working out? Seriously, use your imagination. This article 100% sums up why MORE people should get up and OUTdoors.

  11. Avatar Joe says:

    Too bad so many feel this way about exercising I indoors. Right now, with my schedule, the only chance I’ll get to exercise today is either go outside while its 96 degrees and Georgia humidity, or exercise indoors on my treadmill. I’ll take a spin on the treadmill, thanks. There have been other days my window of opportunity was during thunder and lightning storms, so again, no thanks. Do I get outdoors for my runs? Every chance I get, yes. But sometimes common sense dictates otherwise, and I’m blessed I have a choice on those occasions.

  12. Avatar Jon Eastling says:

    For me indoors is ideal for me because of equipment accessibility. I can get to my Dumbbells, medicine and stability balls, my pull-up bar, foam roller and more. Outdoors has a benefit too, on days I’m not using any above mentioned equipment, like on yoga days or plyo days, I can go outside for my workout if I want, or I can stay inside. The biggest thing to me is not where you workout, but that you showed up and are putting in work, I don’t care if it’s Pilates (I’m a guy and let me say cudos to everyone who does them, they are TOUGH) or yoga, or strength training or sprinting, your in the room, somedays will be good, others not so much. Some days no matter how much you love it you’ll just say, “ya know what, I’m not doing the damn workout” and that’s fine. But back to the inside vs outside thing, people getting upset at someone who voiced there opinion on what they do and hunk is right. Instead of condemning how someone’s doing something, at least they are doing it, unlike billions of people that sit on their duffs and do nothing! As long as everyone is getting better, learning, growing physically and mentally, and being healthy while they are doing it, I don’t give a crap if you do you workout inside, outside, or on the space station, you showed up and did it and for that I say keep it up, your kicking butt and rocking it!! Peace out.

  13. Avatar Melanie says:

    If you have access to those things indoors great, but I don’t at home (plus I am distracted by my very big to do list) and I found the gym very distracting, there’s always at least one rude person to run a perfectly good workout, smells, busy, crowded.
    Outdoors is a huge stress relief, enjoying nature makes you forget you are even working out, quite often go further without realizing it. Interact with environment, challenge the elements, improve mental health.
    Agree with some others on here that I am shocked a fitness person would write this.

    • Avatar spikedirt says:

      My gym is full every day. The ‘box’ that I drive by on my way to the gym is busy every day. You are ‘shocked’ that a fitness person would write this?

  14. Avatar Jodi says:

    Maybe It’s ok if some people love exercising indoors. YOU can continue exercising wherever you want. It’s OK to have different preferences folks…

  15. Avatar Rissa says:

    Indoor and outdoor workout have their pros and cons. For me, I workout (run) either indoors or outdoors depending on my mood…

  16. Avatar outdoor fan says:

    Indoors is also expensive
    Outdoors is free!

  17. Avatar mydierks says:

    Indoors no one shouts rude comments at you from their cars when you’re trying to help your body become healthier.

  18. Avatar homer says:

    Good gosh, you’d think it was an and/or. Each has its benefits, and THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG. It all depends on your personal preference, where you live (for me, I can’t run on cobblestones, and I don’t know who can). I’ve done both, and for my exercise programs and strength training, inside fills the bill. As Joe has said, “Common sense dictates,” but don’t diss the ones who have a preference other than yours.

  19. Avatar Dosia says:

    Indoors is no city pollution and no scorching sun but I still love running outside during fall and early winter months.

  20. Avatar Toni says:

    Outdoors – sunshine, fresh air, no people in close proximity, no binge watching, no cell phones, no loud talking, no sweaty machines, wide open spaces, no weird smells, able to focus, no waiting for equipment and able to meditate with no distractions. I can go on and on…. Too many people stay inside too much – work, home, restaurants, etc…. Get outside people!!!

  21. Avatar SlytherinSister says:

    Wow! Lots of people here seem to be really snobby about where complete strangers excercise.

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