5 Fun and Effective Workout Outdoor Ideas
Outdoor exercise has benefits you don’t get from working out in a hot, indoor gym. Studies show that simply being in nature is good for your mood and enhances your self esteem.Other benefits include easy access and low cost. So why not take advantage of the health benefits nature offers? As the winter passes and flowers and greenery spring into full bloom, take your workout outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while you do something healthful for your body. If you expose your arms, you’ll also soak up some sunlight to boost your vitamin D level.
Not sure about outdoor workouts ideas? Here are some ways to get a workout outside that’s fun and effective. Don’t forget to dress for the weather and apply insect repellent to ward of those flesh eating critters.
Join an Outdoor Fitness Bootcamp
Boot camps are all the rage, and some are setting up shop outdoors in local parks. Boot camps typically combine a variety of exercises with an emphasis on bodyweight movements, like push-ups, with minimal rest between each movement. You’ll find yourself sweating in short order! But the time will pass quickly due to the camaraderie of exercising with other fitness-minded individuals. You’ll make friends who share your love of fitness too.
Find a Fitness Trail
Some parks have trails with fitness stations along the way where you stop and do exercises. At one station, you might find an incline bench to do crunches. At the next, a bar where you can do pull-ups. Each station includes a board with instructions on how to complete the exercise. You can walk or jog the trail and stop at as many stations as you like to do the designated exercises. It’s a great way to build endurance and strength as you breathe in the fresh, outdoor air. You can search online for fitness trails in your area.
Hike Your Way to Fitness
Hiking is good exercise, but it doesn’t feel like a workout because you’re distracted by the panoramic view of nature that surrounds you. Hiking has advantages over walking because you’re on uneven terrain. Walking up hills and on uneven ground burns more calories and helps develop greater agility and balance. Did you know even a 10 to 15% incline boosts the calories you burn by up to 40%? Hiking uphill is an excellent way to strengthen your core and the muscles in your lower body. To burn more calories and build strength and endurance in your lower body, wear a backpack when you hike. Ready to tackle a trail?
Play Your Way to Fitness
Who says the only exercise equipment is at the gym? The park has fitness equipment too! Park benches, the monkey bars, and the swing sets can give you a workout. Park benches are ideal for doing triceps dips. You can also place your hands on them to do push-ups and mountain climbers. The monkey bars aren’t just for monkeys either. Use them to do pull-ups for your upper body and leg raises for your abs. Between exercises, jog around the park to keep your heart rate up. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll around the park to cool down. Mission accomplished.
Garden Your Way to Fitness
Gardening puts healthy food on the table, and it also keeps you fit. Did you know gardening burns up to 280 calories per hour? You’re also building strength in your core and lower body as you squat to pick up gardening tools. There’s also something mentally relaxing about spending time in nature and putting your hands in the dirt. In fact, a study showed that gardening was linked with a 36% lower risk of developing dementia.
Try a New Setting
Walking briskly is good exercise, but it’s boring if you always do it in the same place. Why not expand your walking horizons? Get in your car and drive to a new neighborhood. Park the car, get out and walk. You’ll have new sites to see. Hopefully, the neighborhood you choose has a few hills for an added challenge. Explore a new neighborhood every week.
The Bottom Line
Think beyond the gym and enjoy the health benefits of working out in nature. Enjoy the added mental and physical perks of outdoor exercise and reap the benefits.
WebMD.com. “How Hiking Is Good for Body and Mind”
AARP. “5 Secret Health Benefits of Gardening”
Med J Aust. 2006 Jan 16;184(2):68-70.