13 Outdoor Workouts to Add Fun and Variety to Your Routine – Healthline

13 Outdoor Workouts to Add Fun and Variety to Your Routine – Healthline

Before lacing up your running shoes, consider which exercises you’ll be doing, your goals, and the equipment you have available.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) combines strength training and cardio to raise your heart rate quickly. It’s ideal for outdoor workouts since it requires little or no equipment.

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

Additionally, when you complete your workout, be sure to spend a few minutes cooling down with some 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 pavement. If needed, you can adjust the number of reps and time based on your fitness level.

  • 5–10-minute dynamic warmup (e.g., light jog, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 20 high knees
  • 20 squats
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks
  • 15 pushups
  • 20 butt kicks
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 30-second plank
  • 5–10-minute cooldown (e.g., walk around the park, light stretching)

HIIT Workout #2

This workout is great for increasing your heart rate and improving full-body strength. The only equipment you’ll need is a jump rope. Take a 20–60-second break between exercises as needed.

  • 5–10-minute dynamic warmup (e.g., light jog, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 50 skips using jump rope
  • 15 pushups
  • 50 skips using jump rope
  • 20 squats
  • 50 skips using jump rope
  • 30-second plank
  • jump rope skipping until failure (as many as you can before needing to stop)
  • 5–10-minute cooldown (e.g., walk around the park, light stretching)

HIIT Workout #3

This workout is great 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 as needed.

  • 5–10-minute dynamic warmup (e.g., light jog, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 30 seconds side shuffles (both directions)
  • 30-second walking plank (both directions)
  • 30 seconds side leaps (Jump to the side from one leg, land on the other leg, and repeat.)
  • 30 seconds bear crawls (Check out this article for a how-to.)
  • 30 seconds standing toe taps (on bench, box, or step)
  • 5–10-minute cooldown (e.g., walk around the park, light stretching)

If you’re out in the park and have access to a bench, you can use it to get in a great workout. Make sure to select a stable bench that will not tip over and can hold your weight.

Repeat the workout as many times as you want. You can also adjust the number of reps and time for each exercise to suit your needs.

  • 5–10-minute dynamic warmup (e.g., light jog, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 20 incline pushups (against bench)
  • 30 seconds stepups
  • 30 seconds V-crunches (Sit on the end of the bench with your hands gripping edge of seat. Start with your legs outstretched at a 45-degree angle, then pull them in toward your chest, bending your knees.)
  • 15 triceps dips
  • 10 Bulgarian split squats per side
  • 30 seconds incline mountain climbers (hands on bottom of bench)
  • 20 seconds box jumps
  • 5–10-minute cooldown (e.g., walk around the park, light stretching)

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

  • 5–10-minute dynamic warmup (e.g., light jog, jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings)
  • 100 skips using jump rope at light pace
  • 1-minute break
  • 100 skips using jump rope at moderate pace
  • 1-minute break
  • 100 skips using jump rope at fast pace
  • 1-minute break
  • fast-paced skipping until failure (as many skips as you can do before needing to stop)
  • 5–10-minute cooldown (e.g., walk around the park, light stretching)

Other cardio ideas

  • 100-meter sprints (Use the distance between streetlights if you’re unsure how far this is.)
  • agility drills
  • soccer field sprints (Sprint along short side, jog along long side.)
  • stairs (Find a long staircase to run up and down.)
  • hill running
  • laps around park (Include sprints to increase heart rate.)

Summary

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

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

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

Here are 8 outdoor activities you can try to get in a good workout.

1. Hiking

Hiking is an excellent cardio exercise that will help strengthen your lower body — such as your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads — as well as your core. Because hiking usually involves walking on uneven terrain, you’ll activate a variety of muscles to stabilize your body.

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

2. Skiing and snowboarding

Outdoor activities aren’t just for warm weather. In fact, skiing or snowboarding can be a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and strength without really noticing it, since you’re having so much fun while you’re doing it (2).

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

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

3. Stand-up paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding has gained massive attention in the last few years thanks to its full-body benefits. It requires 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 getting in a full-body workout.

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

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

What’s more, swimming burns a lot of calories and is great for improving your cardiovascular health since your heart and lungs need to work harder to deliver blood and oxygen to all your working muscles (6).

In 30 minutes of casual swimming, a 170-pound (77-kg) person can burn around 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 to play sports as a form of exercise, there are many great options. The benefits of playing sports are that they’re fun, usually target multiple muscle groups, and get your heart rate up.

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

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

Similarly, a casual game of soccer or basketball can burn 460–540 calories per hour (1).

If you prefer a slower-paced activity such as golf, you can still reap many benefits. Golf requires good core and upper body strength. Walking and carrying your clubs can also improve your cardio fitness and strength while burning around 345 calories per hour (1).

6. Inline skating or roller-skating

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

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

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

7. Bike riding

Cycling is another lower impact cardio exercise.

Bike riding targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, arms, shoulders, and back. What’s more, outdoor biking may target your core better than a stationary bike does because you also have to maintain your balance while riding (7, 8, 9).

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

8. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great summer activity that requires good upper body and core strength. It’s a great cardio exercise too.

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

Summary

Many outdoor activities can raise 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.

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