Outdoor workouts are predicted to be the biggest trend this year, improving not only fitness energy but also wellbeing benefits such as stress reduction and mood boosting. With temperatures rising across Europe, searches for “outdoor fitness” have increased 35% ahead of summer.
With this in mind, the experts at Live Rugby Tickets were keen to discover which European countries are the best for an outdoor workout this Summer. To do this, they created a points-based index system evaluating several factors in 28 European countries, including average temperature, wind speed, pollen count, humidity level and sunshine hours. Each country was then ranked out of 100 for its suitability for an outdoor workout this summer.
Top 10 best European countries for exercising outdoors
|Rank||Country||Average Temperature (°C)||Average relative humidity %||Average wind speed (metres per second)||Total sunshine duration (h)||Average pollen count label||Number of hiking trails||Outdoor workout suitability score / 100|
Spain is crowned the ultimate country for an outdoor workout, with a suitability score of 96.6/100. The country boasts the second highest average temperature of the top ten countries analysed (21.71°C), only behind Greece (22.73°C). As exercising in high humidity can lead to dehydration, fitness fanatics in Spain can take advantage of low humidity levels ideal for outdoors (49.67). This is 36% lower than the United Kingdom, which has the highest humidity level in the top ten (78.63%).
France places second with an outdoor workout suitability score of 93.1/100. With average temperatures of 18.94°C and a medium pollen count (0.29 grains per m3), France is a more favourable destination for outdoor workouts than Belgium, which has a high pollen count of 0.67 grains per m3. Low rainfall in France has also contributed to a high suitability score. The total precipitation per month is among the lowest of the top ten (265.05 mm), nearly half the level of rainfall experienced in Switzerland (620.13). France’s low precipitation is vital for exercising outside because increased precipitation creates wet surfaces which can lead to injuries.
Italy’s outdoor suitability score of 89.7/100 ranks them third. Italy has the third highest sunshine hours (1,197.63) in the top ten, giving fitness fanatics plenty of opportunity to exercise outdoors during the day. This is almost a quarter (24%) more sunshine hours than Switzerland, which has just 902.36. Also contributing to Italy’s score is its wind speed of just 0.28 m/s — the second lowest wind speed in the top 10 – over one metre per second slower on average than the United Kingdom (1.34 m/s). Having a low wind speed is beneficial for exercising outdoors because higher winds can negatively affect balance.
At the bottom of the top 10 chart is Hungary, with an outdoor workout suitability score of 65.5/100. Hungary places low in the ranking due to its high pollen count (0.75 grains per m3) and low number of hiking trails (2,233). Hungary has 93% fewer walking trails than Germany, which is home to the most in the top ten (35,092).
Fitness expert, founder of Altered Health Solutions and author of I Am Not My Diagnosis, Carley Mellors-Blair explains why conditions like humidity are key for an outdoor workout: “Exercising in high humidity can increase body temperature, which has positive and negative impacts. The negative part is that it can reduce endurance, cause muscles to fatigue quicker, and can also cause dehydration. It’s possible to lose more calories, but if you go too hard for too long, it can cause more problems than positive effects.”
Carley Mellors-Blair added positive impact of exercising outdoors and shares tips to stay safe: “Exercising in plenty of sunshine can have a massively positive impact. It increases your vitamin D absorption, which is amazing, lowers your blood pressure, can increase cognitive function, and boosts your mood. Also releasing happy hormones.”
Mellors-Blair continued: “If extremely windy, exercising outside can be unsafe. If you are untrained and you are having to fight against the wind, or if the wind is behind you, it can affect your form, so this increases the likelihood of strains and possibly injury. It can affect energy levels, and endurance too.Light wind can be quite pleasant when exercising, but it depends on which direction the wind is going. I would recommend layering up with light clothing. Make sure to plan ahead. Be sure to wear the correct footwear, depending on the exercise. Wear the right clothing, drink lots of fluids, and do some research on the terrain and surface you will be working out on.”
The full dataset used throughout this study is available here.