Science and medicine switch between opposing opinions when it comes to many things. Eggs were deemed bad not more than 40 decades ago, but now, physicians regard eggs as one of the best nutritional sources. The importance of exercise has withstood the test of time, and physicians still recommend people do it on a daily or weekly basis. But now, scientists and doctors are saying outdoor aerobics might be the best kind of exercise.

According to Harvard University, regular physical activity reduces your risk of strokes, diabetes, and heart ailments. In fact, each hour of brisk walking you do leads to a 34 percent decreased risk of diabetes. Harvard also finds that aerobic exercises, such as walking, hiking, or running, improve your intelligence and memory. Routinely performing these activities enlarges the hippocampus, which is largely responsible for your learning and verbal memory. Unfortunately, exercises that focus on toning your muscles, increasing strength (like weight lifting), or improving balance, don’t have the same benefits.

Doing your aerobics outdoors offers more health benefits than doing them at the gym. Your skin’s exposure to sunlight causes Vitamin D catalysis; indoor lights do not. Spending time in nature also increases your attention span. Children exhibiting ADHD have longer attention spans subsequent to spending some time in nature. Being surrounded by nature will lessen your anxieties and such stresses as fear and anger, while simultaneously boosting feelings like joy, love, and gratitude. A study showed that 95 percent of subjects feeling sad, nervous, or stressed felt peaceful and equilibrated after being immersed in nature. Spending time in nature is correlated with having better moods, becoming invigorated, feeling meaningful, and experiencing better psychological health.

Running, walking, or hiking in nature also betters your physical well being. A University of Minnesota article states that physically being surrounded by nature lowers stress hormone levels such as cortisol, which in chronic, elevated levels has been found to atrophy the hippocampus. Spending time in nature also lowers “blood pressure, heart rate, [and overall] muscle tension….” It also is believed to increase longevity, and is said to raise pain tolerance. A famous study found that patients immersed in nature were more resilient to pain and had shorter in-patient hospital stays.

So if you’re not much into exercising, or don’t have the time for it, choose outdoor aerobics over indoor strength training. You’ll be exercising both your heart and your brain. And do yourself a favor and go outside for a jog. You’ll save on the electricity your digital treadmill would have spent, while getting the emotional and mental benefits nature is there to provide.