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The 7 Best Ways to Exercise Outdoors

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Sure, you can get a good workout at the gym or inside your home, but on days when the sun is shining and the temperature cooperates, it feels good to take your workout outdoors. Who wants to be couped up in a gym when you can breathe in fresh air rather than the stale smell of a gym and sweaty people?

There are many benefits to exercising outdoors, including improved mental health, increased vitamin D levels, and enhanced calorie burn. Research shows spending time in nature can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood and overall well-being.

Let’s look at some fun ways to work out outdoors and get the myriad of health and fitness benefits staying physically active offers.

1. Tackle a Fitness Trail

Fitness trails are trails equipped with stations where you can stop at designated intervals and complete an exercise challenge. At one station you might do a series of jumping jacks while the next might challenge you to do chin-ups.

By following a fitness trail from beginning to end, you’ll get a cardiovascular workout as you move from exercise to exercise and build muscle strength and endurance as you complete each exercise challenge. Some fitness stations have challenging exercises like bar hangs and pull-ups that will help you build strength

How can you find a fitness trail? Ask your local parks and recreation department, look online, or even download a smartphone app. Once you find a trail, be sure to map out your route before you go and take note of any trail markers or signs. Also, be sure to wear the proper shoes and clothing for the trail surface and weather conditions.

2. Head to the Park

The park isn’t just for kids. It’s also for people who want to stay in shape. Take a brisk walk or jog around the park a few times. Then stop and do a set of triceps dips using a park bench to support your hands. Follow that up with a set of push-ups with your hands on the bench and chin-ups on the monkey bars. Then hang from the high monkey bars and do leg raises to firm your abs. Jog around the park a few more times. Finally, cool down by swinging on the swing set. Getting fit never felt so much like play!

3. Take a Hike

What could be better than breathing in the fresh air and admiring beautiful scenery while you get fit? Hiking is a buttock shaper and a calorie burner too. A 30-minute hike burns around 230 calories. You can boost the calorie burn even more by strapping on a backpack for added resistance. Over time, your legs will become stronger and climbing hills be easier. Hiking is an ideal outdoor workout as the leaves start to turn and autumn is in the air. Hiking with a backpack builds endurance and strong calf muscles.

4. Explore New Neighborhoods

Tired of walking or jogging in your neighborhood? A change of scenery can do wonders for your state of mind. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, try exploring a new neighborhood on foot. Even if you only have time for a quick walk around the block, you’re sure to find something new and interesting. Who knows, you might even discover a hidden gem of a coffee shop or bookstore on your walk.

Walking is also a great way to get some exercise, therefore, it’s a win-win situation. So next time you’re feeling bored or restless, lace up your shoes and head out for a walk in a new neighborhood. With so many new sights to see, your workout will be over before you know it.

5. Rent a Kayak

Try something new and rent a kayak. Kayaking is a fun way to exercise outdoors because it is a low-impact activity that is easy on the joints. Additionally, kayaking is an effective workout for the core muscles and upper body. Do it consistently, and you’ll find the muscles in your core and arms become stronger and have more endurance. Simple tasks like lifting heavy objects will be easier and you’ll have more stamina to do the things you enjoy.

6. Do Some Gardening

Gardening can burn 270 or more calories an hour, and if you’re doing a lot of lifting, you’ll give your whole body a workout. Gardening also boosts flexibility and helps you build stamina and balance It’s a good stress reliever too.

All of that digging, bending, and pushing will pay off with a more toned physique - and a more beautiful garden. Plus, your skin will make more vitamin D from the sun exposure you get and that’s healthy for your immune system and bones.

7. Get Out Your Bike

Do you have a bike sitting in the garage that never gets used? Put it to work for you! Biking is an exciting way to exercise outdoors because it is an efficient form of cardio that you can do at any fitness level. It is also a low-impact activity, so it is easy on the joints. Biking is a breezy way to explore the outdoors and get fresh air. It is also a great way to socialize, as many people enjoy biking with friends or family.

Have Fun!

Tired of exercising in a hot and crowded gym? It feels good to exercise outdoors, and it’s a nice break from your regular workout routine. You’ll burn calories and fat, and you’ll do it while enjoying the great outdoors. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start moving! What’s not to love about that?