More and more people are now preferring to exercise in an open gym instead of indoor gym post pandemic as it not only reduces chances of infections but ensures a daily dose of sunshine that in turn improves immunity, intake of Vitamin D and sets your circadian rhythm right. But many people still prefer indoor gyms as they are usually air conditioned and people do not feel too tired easily. Also there is usually a trainer that helps design appropriate workouts for you as per your requirements. However, the proponents of open gym are on the rise as it also provides multiple other benefits like lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, helping with sleep problems, better mood among others. With World Heart Day (September 28) round the corner, we asked experts which is better for heart health – open gym or indoor gym. Here’s what they said. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Tips to manage stress and keep your heart healthy)
“The AC gym most of the time has trained instructor who can guide you for proper exercise to achieve your goal. It has air conditioned and controlled environment to practice the targeted exercise so that you don’t get fatigue soon and workout more. However, in airconditioned environment body takes more time to warmup and sweats very less thereby less toxins are excreted from body via sweat. However, in controlled environment body cools down easily and thereby one has lesser muscle sore,” says Dr Nityanand Tripathi- Director & HOD – Cardiology & Electrophysiology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.
BENEFITS OF OPEN GYM
While exercising in an indoor gym makes workouts a pleasant experience, open gym may have some additional benefits like fresh and natural air that helps in better lung oxygnenation and also intake of Vitamin D which is again helpful in preventing heart diseases.
“When you are exercising outdoor, especially in the mornings, the first benefit you receive is to be in sunlight. This offers substantial amount of Vitamin D. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D is required for preventing Cardio-vascular diseases. Apart from sunlight, fresh and natural air allows good respiratory effort and protects the airways for a better lung oxygenation. An adequate respiratory function is essential for a good functioning of heart,” says Pragnya Ravichandran, Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chennai, T Nagar
“Open air gym has its own advantage as there is no close environment, so chances of communicable respiratory tract infection tend to spread less frequently. Body warm-ups happen naturally, and workout leads to lot of sweating thereby excretion of toxins happen. With instructor available on some of these site’s workout in these gyms produce desirable health effect,” says Dr Nityanand Tripathi.
WHICH IS BETTER? INDOOR OR OPEN GYM
While exercising itself has several benefits for heart, there have been studies that say exercising in open can help control blood pressure and optimised heart rate. Outdoor gyms also help provide relief from stress which is also a risk factor for heart disease.
“Many researches have shown that outdoor gym impacts the cardiac health by lowering the blood pressure and optimizes the heart rate. Additionally, training in outdoor gym provides relief to stress, witnessing the natural light and greenery surrounding has a positive impact on mental health as stress and negative emotions contribute to deterioration of cardio-vascular functions. Also, it has been observed that training at outdoor gym reduces insomnia. Quality sleep is essential for a good cardiac health. A person with poor sleep has higher risk of heart attack,” says Pragnya Ravichandran.
Dr Aashish Contractor, Director, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, however, says when it comes to open gym or indoor, there is no difference from a heart health point of view.
“Studies done over several decades, involving millions of participants, have clearly shown the benefit of regular exercise and physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercise has both direct and indirect beneficial effects on the heart. Direct effects include, helping the heart muscles get stronger and pump more blood per heart beat as well as the ability to withstand abnormal heart rhythms better. Indirect effects, include beneficial effects on blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, and body fat, all of which reduce the chances of a heart attack,” says Dr Contractor.
Dr Nityanand Tripathi concludes that workout anywhere is good be it AC or open air gym but cardio workout in this pandemic era is little better at open air gyms while targeted muscle workout is better in more controlled environment and under supervision.