Summertime is the time to be outside as much as possible, at least for those of us in areas that experience harsh, cold Winters. When the sunshine and warm weather show up, who wants to be stuck in the gym? Not me. I think outdoor activities are the best kind of activities. So, of course, I have to share with you my favorite fun ways to exercise outside.
Reasons You Should Take Your Workout Outside Whenever You Can
Improved Mood and Reduced Depression
Sunshine and fresh air are like medicine to the body. Fresh air allows you to take deeper, longer breaths, which increases the amount of oxygen that’s transported to your cells. That increase of oxygen to your body’s cells translates to more energy. Plus, just 30 minutes of sunshine can provide you with nearly a day’s supply of vitamin D through skin absorption. Vitamin D has a ton of health benefits and 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient.
Working out outside doesn’t cost you a cent. I like to keep a gym membership for Winter months, but if you can get a month-to-month membership and cancel it during the Summer, you should. Save some money and also reap all the benefits of an outdoor workout. If you have a personal trainer or like the guidance of a group workout at the gym, take that money you’re using for your gym membership and invest it into an outdoor Summer boot camp.
The Elements and Terrain Make for a More Challenging Workout
In the gym your resistance comes from controllable factors. When you move your workouts outside you compete with things like wind, hills, and uneven surfaces. These things develop more strength, balance, and stamina. Not to mention you’ll burn more calories fighting against them.
Fun Ways to Exercise Outside
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Anyone who knows me or follows my blog or social media posts already knew this one would be first on this list. Hiking, in my humble opinion, cannot be matched for fun outdoor exercising. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul. And you don’t have to be an expert outdoors person to enjoy hiking. Keep these things in mind if you’re new to hiking:
- Choose a high traffic trail. It will be marked well and if you go alone you won’t be the only one on the trail, so it won’t be easy to get lost. Not to mention it will be well maintained.
- Start with beginner trails. There are so many awesome places to go hiking. You’ve probably seen photos of hikes that you’re already thinking you want to go on one day. But a lot of those places are not easy to get to. Sometimes that might just mean a steep trail, other times it can mean rough terrain. Either way, work up to those more advance hikes. There are tons of awesome beginner and moderate trails. Try the AllTrails website/app to find ratings and reviews of trails near you.
- Be prepared. Even if you’re going on a short hike, make sure you’re prepared for anything that might happen, as best you can be. Here are Ten Essentials for Short Hikes that I think you should consider taking with you every time.
Outdoor HIIT Training
Picture a boot camp workout. You don’t need equipment, you don’t need weights, you don’t need anything but your body. A park bench and some stairs wouldn’t hurt, but you don’t need anything but yourself for a good, fun, outdoor HIIT workout. Daily Burn has some great HIIT workouts you can take anywhere. Try these tips for the best outdoor HIIT workout:
- Get a stopwatch or download an interval timer app on your phone. I use the GYMNEXT Flex Timer app.
- Take plenty of water and a sweat towel
- Take a yoga mat if you’d rather not lay in the grass. I use something like this.
- Make sure you have wireless headphone or a mini Bluetooth speaker so you can move freely but still have the motivation of music.
Even though kayaking is mostly an upper body workout, it’s also great for cardiovascular health. If I could have two first place activities on my list of fun ways to exercise outside, this would be right up there with hiking. If you have a lake, river, or ocean nearby there’s likely a place you can rent a kayak for a reasonable price. But if you enjoy it and do it often, you can purchase your own kayak and save money long term. Inflatable kayaks are really popular these days. They’re low cost and easy to transport if you don’t have an SUV. There are some things you should consider before kayaking:
- Kayaks can be tricky and if you plan on going out alone you should probably consider taking a kayaking lesson. I know it seems easy enough, but you can easy flip a kayak and if you’re out on your own you’ll want to have some knowledge about how to recover.
- If you purchase you’re own kayak you’ll be able to go where every you want. If you are heading out to on a large body of water, make sure you know the area or have a good map. When possible, use GPS so you don’t get lost or go too far without realizing it.
Think soccer, beach volleyball, basketball at your local park court, tennis, the list goes on. Even if you never played these sports, it’s not too late to start. The cool thing is, when you’re just doing it for a fun and exercise, you don’t have to be good at it. My husband and I once decided to take up tennis for fun exercise. We were terrible at it, but we had a blast.
- Look into adult leagues in your area. Depending on the sport you’re interested in, there are usually people with all levels of skill and experience playing in these leagues. Just go and have fun!
Biking is an excellent form of exercise and one of the most entertaining, in my opinion. I love the amount of space you can cover versus the effort and time you have to put in. You can see so many places in one ride. Not only can you go out just for the purpose of taking a nice, long ride, but you can also use your bike for transportation to some places during the summer. This is a great option for those who need no impact exercise.
- Like kayaking, depending on where you live, you might be able to rent a bike if you just want to do it every once in a while. But it can be a lot pricier than renting a kayak. I suggest investing in a bicycle of your own if you find you enjoy riding.