Let’s face it. Getting in shape usually requires plenty of hard work, dedication, and a considerable amount of time in the gym. But sometimes it’s good to shake up the routine a bit to help keep things fresh and new. Mixing in some other activities, especially ones that help get you outside, can provide a nice change of pace without compromising your workout schedule in any way. In fact, there are a number of great outdoor sports that will not only compliment your existing workout but possibly enhance it as well. If you’re looking to move at least part of your exercise routine to the outdoors, here are the very best activities that can help you achieve your fitness goals while providing a healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine too.
While hiking may seem like a simple walk in the woods, it can actually lead to a fairly intense workout if you want it to be. Hiking trails can range from completely flat, to incredibly steep and hilly, with the terrain obviously having a direct impact on the intensity level of the trek. Steep hills, both up and down, will work the leg muscles as well as the cardiovascular system. Flat trails won’t offer the same level of difficulty of course, but if done at a faster pace, they can still provide a good workout. Want to add an extra challenge to your hike? Try wearing a full backpack while walking the trail.
There are few outdoor sports that provide more heart-pounding action than mountain biking. Not only will riding a trail test your legs and lungs, but the fast-paced action will induce more than a few adrenaline rushes too. That makes for a great cardio workout of course, but mountain biking can also be of tremendous benefit to both the lower and upper body as well. Riding up and down hills is the best way to improve fitness, of course, but rolling along on a flat trail at a high rate of speed will still provide a solid workout too. It is all about keeping your cadence up, which can lead to burning calories at a surprisingly high rate.
In order to stay on your feet, SUP requires participants to maintain their balance at all times. This not only provides a good workout for the leg muscles but the core (chest and abs) as well. Additionally, since the sport involves paddling across flat water or down a river, the arms and shoulders get plenty of attention too.
Nothing changes up a stale running routine quite like moving off the treadmill and onto a trail. Trail running requires strength, agility, and balance, as the uneven terrain is much more difficult to run on than anything you’ll find in the gym, or even out on the road. Regular trail runs can result in stronger legs and joints, not to mention improved cardio efficiency. And since you’ll be working harder on a trail run, you’ll burn far more calories too.
For one of the best all-body workouts available, give rock climbing a try. Most non-climbers are under the false impression that rock climbing is all about upper-body strength, but honestly, the legs and core are just as important to achieving success. Rock climbing can help promote lean muscle mass, while also toning the arms, chest, shoulders, legs, and back. It also happens to be a great way to burn calories and work the cardiovascular system as well. While obviously not for everyone, and not an activity you should do solo, rock climbing really is one of the best all-around workouts to add to your fitness routine. It can’t be stressed enough just how important it is to change up your exercise routine from time to time. These outdoor activities will not only help you do that but also add in a healthy dose of fun in the process. By just moving your workout from inside the stuffy gym to the fresh air of the outdoors you are bound to see positive benefits as well. Consider that the next time you are having a hard time getting motivated. Then give yourself a free pass to go hit your favorite local trail instead.