Recent reports predict that the demand for outdoor exercise will soar in 2023, and with searches for “outdoor fitness classes near me” rising by 200% — it is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about moving our workouts outdoors.
With this in mind, the experts at Live Rugby Tickets were keen to discover which European countries are the best for an outdoor workout. 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.
The best European countries for an outdoor workout:
Croatia rank eighth best country for outdoor workouts
Croatia ranks eighth with a final score of 72.4/100. Contributing to this score is a low pollen count (0.13 grains per m/3). This is a staggering 82% lower than Hungary’s high pollen count of 0.75 grains per m/3).
The best countries for an outdoor workout
Spain is the ultimate country for an outdoor workout, with a suitability score of 96.6/100. Spain has the second highest average temperature of the top ten countries analysed (21.71°C), only behind Greece (22.73°C). As working out in high humidity can lead to dehydration, low humidity levels in Spain (49.67%) makes it one of the ultimate locations for outdoors exercise. This is 36% lower than the United Kingdom, which has the highest humidity level in the top ten (78.63%).
Fitness expert, founder of Altered Health Solutions, Carley Mellors-Blair explains why these conditions 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.”
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 mm). 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 the country in third place. 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 hours. 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.
Carley Mellors-Blair adds:
“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!”
“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.”
The country least suitable for an outdoor workout:
Hungary is the country least suited for an outdoor workout, with a suitability score of just 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 home to the most walking trails in the top ten (35,092).