Fitness Beyond the Gym: Outdoor Workouts and Adventure Sports

Posted by Pyne on 3/31/2024

In today's fast-paced world, finding time to hit the gym can be challenging, or at least most of us will come up with a thousand excuses saying so. Which is why implementing 10-15 minutes of a home workout is important to maintain a healthy balance. However home workouts and the same routine can get tiring, and well routine… 

The great outdoors offer a vast playground for fitness enthusiasts seeking an alternative to traditional gym workouts. From hiking trails to open water swimming, outdoor workouts and adventure sports provide not only physical benefits but also mental refreshment and a connection to nature. Let’s explore the benefits of outdoor fitness activities and get some inspiration for incorporating them into your routine.

So What are the Benefits of Outdoor Workouts?

   - Fresh Air and Vitamin D: Outdoor workouts allow you to breathe in fresh air and soak up natural sunlight, boosting your mood and vitamin D levels. “Fresh air not only cleans your lungs, it can also boost your mood, lower your heart rate, increase energy levels and even improve digestion.” 

   - Variety and Adventure: Outdoor settings offer endless possibilities for exploration and adventure, keeping workouts exciting and engaging. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about a variety of outdoor ideas and activities in just a bit. 

   - Improved Mental Wellbeing: Spending time in nature has been linked to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, leading to improved mental clarity and overall well being.

   - Increased Calories Burned: Many outdoor activities, such as hiking and trail running, require more energy and engage a wider range of muscles, resulting in a higher calorie burn compared to most indoor workouts.

   - Connection to Nature: Outdoor workouts provide an opportunity to connect with the natural world, fostering a sense of appreciation and love for the environment. It's important to connect with nature, our natural roots, mother earth. We get so busy with life, but it’s important to take it easy, connect with nature, even in the simplest of ways. Digging your toes in the sand, going for a run outside, hiking a trail. 

Okay so Let’s Talk about Some Outdoor Workout Ideas:

Hiking: Explore local trails and scenic landscapes while getting a full-body workout. You don’t have to be a geography or outdoors expert to hike. Google some local or scenic trails. Plan it out days or the day before, so you know driving times etc. Bring a friend, it’s always smart to hike with a buddy. Hiking doesn't have to be that difficult. Throw on a tshirt, yoga pants, running shoes, and go hit a trail. Bring water, and don’t forget a hat or SPF!

No hiking trails near you? Walk around the neighborhood! Walk to your park, walk different ways each time, you may be surprised what you find in your local area. 

Trail Running: Challenge yourself with uneven terrain and elevation changes for an intense cardio workout. You can also do hills if you work in the city, but obviously nature and getting away is the goal. 


Cycling: Hit the road or mountain trails for a low-impact, high-intensity workout that strengthens your legs and improves cardiovascular health. You can always also take a cycling class. Cycling while working at a desk is also beneficial, although, yes, it’s not outside. But it provides an excellent alternative to sitting at a desk while staring at a screen! Why not burn calories at the same time?

But back to the main topic, getting outside. Go for a bike ride with your family or friends! Ride your bike to the park and play games at the park! Take your bike for a ride along the beach or ride a trail in the mountains.

Outdoor Yoga: Find tranquility and mindfulness in nature with outdoor yoga sessions, incorporating breathwork and meditation. Breathwork actually has some amazing benefits, obviously so does yoga. You can watch videos and start in your backyard, you can start in the park, join a class or a group. Look up youtube videos, you have several options there. Pilates is also a great option that incorporates small short circuits of differentiated targeted workouts. 

Swimming: Take advantage of nearby lakes, rivers, or oceans for a refreshing swim that works your entire body. If that’s not an option, just going outside and swimming in a pool is great exercise as well. And less scary if you have any phobias of life down under. 

Rock Climbing: Test your strength and agility with rock climbing adventures, whether at indoor climbing gyms or outdoor crags. But be careful and make sure you take precautionary measures, rock climbing can be very dangerous if you’re out in the wild and obviously even more so if you’re alone. 

Skating: There’s several types of skating. Roller skating, skateboarding, ice skating, etc. Whatever kind of skating floats your boat do it or try it. Hit a skating rink with some friends or bring out your old skates for a go around. Buy some cute skates to pick up a new hobby. And again, youtube videos! Watch youtube to get better and learn some new skills. 

Although seasonal, Snowboarding or Skiing: Snowboarding and skiing engage your core, legs, and upper body as you navigate through snow and improve cardiovascular fitness, lower body strength, and balance.

Kayaking: Kayaking provides a great upper body workout while allowing you to connect with nature and spot wildlife along the way. 

Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Stand-up paddleboarding is a full-body workout that improves balance, core strength, and paddling techniques because you have to get into a rhythm and deal with currents etc. Have fun exploring lakes, rivers, or coastal areas while enjoying the serenity of being on the water. Kayaks and Paddle boards can be rented in several areas for an hourly rate. 

And let’s be real, you can’t say I live in a city and don’t have access to the outdoors. Because you work with what you got. If that’s truly the case: 

Most places have pickleball courts or tennis courts and this is a super fun option regardless of where you live! Pickleball is an easier alternative to tennis, some may say. Pickleball is quickly gaining popularity for its accessibility, versatility, and downright addictive gameplay. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just dipping your toes into outdoor sports, pickleball offers a fantastic blend of fun and fitness. With its easy-to-learn rules and fast-paced action, it's the perfect way to get your heart pumping while enjoying some friendly competition with friends or family.

Find some stairs. Even better: Find a set of outdoor stairs and incorporate stair climbing into your workout routine. Climbing stairs is an effective cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your legs, glutes, and core while burning calories and improving endurance.

Cycling in the City: Explore city streets and bike paths by cycling around urban neighborhoods. Cycling is a low-impact aerobic workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, leg strength, and overall endurance while providing an efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. Just watch out for drivers. And respect traffic laws

Outdoor Circuit Training: Set up a circuit workout in a city park or open space using benches, steps, and other outdoor structures. Combine bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, and tricep dips with cardio intervals for a total-body workout that targets all major muscle groups. Don’t know what those are?  Youtube! Youtube: 15 minute full body workout Pilates or 15 minute core workout, the possibilities of what to search are endless, keep looking until you see one you want to try, you don’t like it? Try another one. But finish at least one whole video. 

Too embarrassing to do on the spot? Research videos and exercises beforehand, practice those and get good at them. Do them outside. 

Rooftop Yoga or Pilates: Take your yoga or Pilates practice to new heights with rooftop classes offered in many cities or just go to your own rooftop and youtube. Enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline while stretching, strengthening, and finding balance in mind and body.

Street Basketball or Soccer: Join pickup games or recreational leagues for basketball or soccer in city parks or outdoor courts. These team sports provide a fun and social way to stay active while improving cardiovascular fitness, agility, and teamwork skills. And if joining a team isn’t your jam then just go with a friend or a group of friends. Often there will be other little groups of friends playing the same sport and you can sometimes join together for competitive play, sometimes keep to yourselves. Either way, get out there and do it. Even if it's just you and your girlfriend/boyfriend. Bring a bunch of options, soccer, volleyball, baseball gloves and balls, frisbee, anything. 

Whatever you decide, change it up. Just get out there, and have fun with it! 

Safety Tips for Outdoor Workouts:

   - Check Weather Conditions: Be aware of weather forecasts and avoid outdoor activities during extreme weather conditions, 

   - Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially during hot and humid weather. In the desert people have been known to die from heat exhaustion and dehydration because they traveled or their car broke down and they didn’t have water. So always be prepared

   - Dress Appropriately: Wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing and appropriate footwear for your chosen activity. And with that comes Sun Protection. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays.

   - Know Your Limits: Listen to your body and pace yourself, especially when trying new outdoor activities or pushing your limits. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t go alone, if you do, try to go somewhere familiar or bring safety equipment like a knife or even pepper spray, you could use a knife for several situations not just for safety. What if you find an injured trapped animal? You could just save the day!

Anyway, getting outside and fitness beyond the gym offers a world of adventure and exploration for those seeking to break free from the confines of indoor workouts. Whether you're hiking through rugged terrain, cycling along scenic routes, or practicing yoga in a tranquil outdoor setting, outdoor fitness activities provide physical challenges, mental rejuvenation, and a deeper connection to nature. Embrace the great outdoors and discover the endless possibilities for achieving your fitness goals while exploring the beauty of the world around you. And even if you just have time for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, do it. Get out there. Move your body, breathe some fresh air, get moving outside someway somehow!

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