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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

8 Outdoor Workouts to Stay in Shape

If dreading the continuous, yet stationary strides on the treadmill, get back to nature with these 8 outdoor activities that won’t feel like your typical trip to the gym!

8 Outdoor Workouts to Stay in Shape

Dreading the continuous, yet stationary strides on the treadmill? What about the crowded weight room at the gym?

Break standard, traditional workouts with fun ways to exercise outdoors! An outdoor workout can be just as effective, if not more, as an indoor workout.

Get back to nature with these 8 outdoor exercises and workouts!

8 Fun Outdoor Exercise Ideas

Whether hiking on the trails or paddleboarding over water, do not miss out on these outdoor exercises.

You will be having so much fun, you may forget you are even getting an effective workout in!

1. Hiking

Hit the scenic routes and take a hike!

Hiking the great outdoors offers solidarity while promoting aerobic exercise. With hills and high altitudes, the legs can get a solid workout without fussing with a crowded weight room.

Feeling adventurous? Check out some of the best hikes in the USA. The hike itself may allure you in, but the views will make you want to keep going!

2. Kayaking

Paddling through water can be so calming that you may not even realize you are getting in a solid workout.

Enjoyed as a hobby or competitively, both kayaking and canoeing offer strength training to all upper and lower body muscles. What's more, four hours of kayaking can burn an average of 1,600 calories!

But besides staying in shape, spending hours rowing in the great outdoors can reduce stress and promote mental health.

3. Paddleboarding

Similar to kayaking, paddle boarding requires a paddle to maneuver through the water. But instead of sitting down in a kayak, you are standing atop of the board.

Standing tall, keeping the core tight, and balancing on a paddleboard activates the body's essential muscles. And like kayaking, steering through the water requires swinging your arms to manipulate the paddle.

Truly, paddleboarding is a full-body workout that further supports stability and improves posture.

4. Sand Volleyball

Get competitive with a game of sand volleyball. This fun workout will not feel like one as you compete with a large group of friends and family.

In addition to volleyball, compete in other favorite group sports at other local fields and courts. These may include tennis, basketball, softball, and kickball.

5. Biking

Skip out on the stationary bike and get to peddling in the great outdoors! Biking is an excellent leg-training and cardio workout.

Hit the trails, stroll the neighborhood, or seek out hills for an even greater and intense outdoor workout! You can even make it a point to bike to work or anywhere else you feel comfortable doing so.

6. Swimming

Grab a suit and head to your favorite swimming spot!

Swimming not only burns hundreds of calories but targets muscle groups throughout the entire body. It helps tone and build strength without stressful impacts of weights, as the water is gentle on joints and muscles.

A low-impact swimming workout can complement or replace laps in the water while still offering health benefits as well. For instance, you can jog in place, practice flutter kicks, and jump explosively in the water.

7. Walking

Tie up your favorite walking shoes and go! Walking can be accomplished almost anywhere without any additional equipment.

And walking is one simple exercise with proven benefits. These include strengthened leg muscles, improved posture, and reduced risks of chronic diseases. Mood, creativity, self-esteem, and happiness can be boosted as well.

8. Playground Workouts

Skip the indoor gym and head to a park for an outdoor workout!

Total body workouts can be completed using some of the offered playground equipment. (No need to pack and lug around any of your gear!)

Below details a full-body outdoor circuit workout that targets the lower and upper body. It also is fast-moving to but the body in a fat-burning zone.

Move from one exercise to the next with rest in between. Perform two sets of each exercise, resting for 30 seconds between each movement:

• 30 jumping jacks: Jumping jacks are great to get the heart rate elevated. If available, use a jump rope to truly feel like you are at the playground!

• 15 bodyweight squats: Using body weight is not only convenient but also effective. Beginners can also practice using the park bench. Sitting and standing using the chair offers safety and helps the person recognize what a proper squatting position should feel like.

• 10 pushups: Push-ups strengthen the upper body while also targeting the core and lower body. You can also modify the push-up by pushing off a park bench and by bending your knees. The most importance is focusing on good form rather than trying to knock them out quickly.

• Plank for as long as possible: Planks are stationary movements in which the entire body forms a stable, straight line. Start by planting the right and left hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and right and left toes into the ground. While keeping the core, right and left legs tight, hold the plank position for as long as you can.

• REST and repeat for a total of 2 to 3 sets.

Also, feel free to switch up playground workout routines. This may include mountain climbers and pull-ups on the monkey bars. Also do lunges, taking turns elevating the right and left foot on the park bench. Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and see how many rounds you can complete as well.

Christy Zagarella's Photo
Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Medically reviewed By Jake Berman, PT, DPT. Published on September 05, 2016. Updated on October 22, 2019.


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