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Fun and Unique Ways to Stay Active Outdoors

Can't seem to get motivated inside the gym? Working out outside while immersed in nature may provide a more enjoyable experience.



The great outdoors offers endless opportunities to explore new forms of exercise, from kayaking to trail running. Outdoor activities offer no-cost and low-cost options to help you stay fit while enjoying nature. In addition, exercising outdoors can help you maintain adequate levels of vitamin D from sun exposure.


Not sure where to get started with outdoor workouts? Discover these fun and unique ways to stay active outdoors. Incorporating outdoor activities into a well-rounded exercise plan can help you improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness.


Hiking and Trail Running for Cardiovascular Fitness

Local trails or community parks are a great place to start improving your cardiovascular fitness. With a bit of online research, you can find a variety of free hiking and walking trails in your area. For example, TrailLink's trail finder can help you locate new trails to check out.


Hiking is an excellent way to burn calories and get your heart pumping. Beginners can start with low-intensity hikes, working up to trails with higher difficulty levels. Plus, these activities can help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Running and hiking can also strengthen your bones, helping to prevent osteoporosis.


Kayaking and Paddle Boarding for Upper Body Strength

Looking to get out on the water? Kayaking and paddle boarding are two fun and unique ways to stay active outdoors while improving upper body strength. The repetitive motion required for these outdoor activities can help you strengthen your arm, back, and shoulder muscles.


These sports also help to engage your core and torso (external obliques) and hips and legs for stability. Paddling engages a large set of muscles found in your back, known as the latissimus dorsi muscles. In addition to upper body strengthening, kayaking can burn about 280 calories per hour (for the average adult).


Cycling for Endurance and Leg Muscles

While kayaking and paddle boarding provide a challenging upper-body workout, cycling is ideal for lower-body strengthening. Outdoor cycling helps engage all the muscles in your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Many local running trails can also be used as great places to get a cycling workout in.


As you begin to advance your cycling skills, your body will build more endurance for longer rides. Starting an interval training plan can help you build endurance strategically. In addition to enhanced endurance and strengthened leg muscles, cycling is an excellent cardio workout. Depending on speed and body weight, a moderate-intensity cycling ride can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories in only 30 minutes.


Outdoor Group Fitness Classes

Staying active outdoors is exciting when you include a buddy! Many outdoor group fitness classes offer innovative ways to help you stay fit while having fun. Local apps, such as MeetUp, can help you connect with outdoor fitness groups in your area. Many gyms in the area also offer outdoor fitness classes, such as circuit training classes.


From outdoor cardio circuits to thrilling Zumba classes, there are group fitness classes for every preference. Group fitness classes held outdoors also serve as a great stress reliever, help prevent depression, and can help you foster new connections in your community. Other examples of outdoor group fitness classes include yoga, pilates, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes.


Gardening for a Low-Impact Workout

Did you know that working in your garden can count as exercise? If you have a green thumb, try gardening as a low-impact outdoor workout to improve your health. As you garden, you'll find yourself engaging your body's major muscle groups, such as your legs, arms, and shoulders.


The activities associated with gardening, such as walking or digging, also burn significant calories to help you maintain a healthy body weight. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the average person can burn an impressive 300 calories per hour while gardening.


This low-impact workout idea is also a good option for people with back or knee conditions who cannot participate in other types of outdoor activities. If other forms of exercise don't seem to get you motivated, perhaps gardening is worth a try!


Embrace the Great Outdoors

Exercising outdoors can help you stay motivated and fit. With many exciting options, fitness enthusiasts can find new ways to keep their workouts interesting. Consider the great outdoors as your playground for staying active and healthy while exploring the natural beauty all around us. Exercising outdoors can help you improve cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles, and improve your endurance.


Stay updated with new outdoor activities to try by tuning into the ActiveFit+ blog. ActiveFit+ offers lifestyle content designed to support you on your health and wellness journey.

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