Home Fitness guide 13 outdoor workouts to add fun and variety to your routine

13 outdoor workouts to add fun and variety to your routine

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Before you lace up your running shoes, think about the exercises you’ll be doing, your goals, and the equipment you have.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines strength training and cardio to quickly increase your heart rate. It is ideal for outdoor workouts as it requires little to no equipment.

Remember to warm up well before starting the exercise. This can include light cardio and dynamic mobility exercises.

Also, when you finish your workout, be sure to spend a few minutes cooling off by light stretching or walking to allow your heart rate to return to normal.

HIIT workout #1

This workout requires no equipment and can be done on grass or sidewalk. If necessary, you can adjust the number of repetitions and the time according to your fitness level.

  • 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up (e.g. light jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 20 high knees
  • 20 squats
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 15 push-ups
  • 20 butt kicks
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 30 second plank
  • 5 to 10 minutes of recovery (eg, walk in the park, light stretching)

HIIT workout #2

This workout is great for getting your heart rate up and improving full-body strength. The only equipment you will need is a jump rope. Take a break of 20 to 60 seconds between exercises, if necessary.

  • 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up (e.g. light jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 50 jump rope jumps
  • 15 push-ups
  • 50 jump rope jumps
  • 20 squats
  • 50 jump rope jumps
  • 30 second plank
  • jump rope jump to failure (as much as you can before you have to stop)
  • 5 to 10 minutes of recovery (eg, walk in the park, light stretching)

HIIT workout #3

This workout is ideal if you have access to a soccer field or a basketball or tennis court. Perform each exercise along the painted lines to use as a guide. Repeat the workout as desired and adjust the time if necessary.

  • 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up (e.g. light jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 30 seconds side shuffle (both directions)
  • 30 second walking plank (both ways)
  • 30 seconds of lateral jumps (Jump to the side of one leg, land on the other leg and repeat.)
  • 30 Second Crawling Bear (Check out this article for how to.)
  • 30 seconds of standing tapping (on a bench, box or step)
  • 5 to 10 minutes of recovery (eg, walk in the park, light stretching)

If you’re in the park and have access to a bench, you can use it for a great workout. Be sure to choose a stable bench that won’t tip over and can support your weight.

Repeat the workout as many times as you want. You can also adjust the number of repetitions and the duration of each exercise according to your needs.

  • 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up (e.g. light jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 20 incline push-ups (against a bench)
  • 30 seconds of progress
  • 30 seconds of V-Crunches (Sit on the end of the bench with your hands gripping the edge of the seat. Start with your legs stretched out at a 45 degree angle, then pull them towards your chest, bending your knees.)
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 Bulgarian split squats on each side
  • 30 seconds inclined climbers (hands at bottom of bench)
  • 20 second box jumps
  • 5 to 10 minutes of recovery (eg, walk in the park, light stretching)

If you’re looking to improve your cardio, here’s a great high-intensity cardio workout:

  • 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up (e.g. light jogging, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 100 jump rope jumps at a light pace
  • 1 minute break
  • 100 jump rope jumps at moderate pace
  • 1 minute break
  • 100 jump rope jumps at a fast pace
  • 1 minute break
  • fast jumps to failure (as many jumps as you can before you have to stop)
  • 5 to 10 minutes of recovery (eg, walk in the park, light stretching)

Other Cardio Ideas

  • 100 meter sprints (use the distance between the streetlights if you are unsure of the distance.)
  • agility drills
  • soccer field sprints (Sprint along the short side, run along the long side.)
  • stairs (Find a long staircase to go up and down.)
  • hill run
  • laps around the park (include sprints to increase heart rate.)

Summary

Most high intensity workouts can be done outdoors with minimal equipment. A park bench can be a great workout tool. Just make sure it’s stable and can support your weight.

For the ultimate cardio burn, try jumping rope, running up stairs, or sprinting.

Staying active outdoors can be a lot of fun and add more variety to your workout routine.

Here are 8 outdoor activities you can try to train well.

1. Hike

Hiking is a great cardio exercise that will help strengthen your lower body — like your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads — as well as your core. Since hiking typically involves walking over uneven terrain, you’ll be activating a variety of muscles to stabilize your body.

A typical hike can last a few hours, which means you can burn some serious calories. For example, a 170-pound (77 kg) person can burn about 693 calories during a 90-minute hike (1).

2. Skiing and snowboarding

Outdoor activities are not reserved for sunny days. In fact, skiing or snowboarding can be a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and strength without really realizing it, because you’re having so much fun doing it (2).

These activities can also help improve your balance (2).

In an hour of occasional downhill skiing, a 170-pound (77 kg) person will likely burn about 385 calories (1).

3. Stand-up paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding has garnered massive attention in recent years thanks to its full-body benefits. It takes good core and lower body strength to maintain your balance. And paddling targets your arms, shoulders and back (3).

4. Swimming

Whether you’re swimming in a pool or a lake, you’re training for the whole body.

When you swim, you use almost all of your muscles to stay afloat and overcome the resistance of the water. In particular, swimming targets upper body muscles such as lats and traps and muscles in the chest and arms (4).

Swimming is also a great way to improve core strength (5).

Plus, swimming burns a lot of calories and is great for improving your cardiovascular health, as your heart and lungs have to work harder to deliver blood and oxygen to all your working muscles (6).

In 30 minutes of relaxed swimming, a 170 pound (77 kg) person can burn about 270 calories. And if the same person increases their speed or intensity, they can burn around 385 calories in a 30-minute session (1).

5. Recreational Sports

If you prefer sports as a form of exercise, there are plenty of great options. The benefits of playing sports are that they are fun, usually target multiple muscle groups, and get your heart rate up.

For example, tennis requires lower and upper body strength and cardiovascular fitness to help you run around the court and swing a tennis racket.

During a singles session of tennis, a 170-pound (77 kg) person can burn 616 calories per hour (1).

Likewise, an occasional football or basketball game can burn 460–540 calories per hour (1).

If you prefer a slower paced activity like golf, you can still get a lot of benefits from it. Golf requires good core and upper body strength. Walking and carrying your clubs can also improve your fitness and strength while burning around 345 calories per hour (1).

6. In-line skating or roller skating

If you’re looking for a low-impact cardio exercise, you might want to try inline skating or roller skating.

These activities are a good alternative to running because they can get your heart rate up but put less strain on your joints. They can also strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and glutes.

Although you may feel like you’re not working very hard, you will burn a lot of calories. In 30 minutes of occasional in-line skating, a 170-pound (77 kg) person can burn an impressive 424 calories (1).

7. Ride a bike

Cycling is another low impact cardio exercise.

The bike targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, arms, shoulders, and back. Additionally, the outdoor bike can target your core better than a stationary bike, as you also need to maintain your balance while riding (7, 89).

A 170-pound (77 kg) person can burn about 308 calories per hour cycling at a relaxed pace (1).

8. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great summer activity that requires good upper body and core strength. It is also an excellent cardio exercise.

In an hour of occasional kayaking, a 170-pound (77 kg) person can burn about 385 calories (1).

Summary

Many outdoor activities can increase your heart rate, strengthen your muscles, and burn a ton of calories. Try exploring different outdoor activities to see which ones you enjoy the most.