What if your workout didn’t feel like work? Exercise is most effective when you enjoy it, and there is no better place to perk up your perspective on fitness than the great outdoors. Whether you love to swim, hike, or bike, there are endless exercise settings to satisfy the sweat-seeker’s soul.
A simple switch in your exercise environment helps your body and brain bloom. Fresh air fitness is associated with improved mood, reduced levels of stress, better balance and an ever-changing terrain to test the stabilizer muscles and ward off physical plateaus. The outdoors is your ultimate workout oasis.
Get in the best shape of your life with these top five fat-burning outdoor activities:
Hiking. You’ll be running for the hills once you learn that an hour of hiking burns roughly 400 calories. Hiking is an excellent exercise for clearing the mind, becoming one with nature, and boosting balance skills. Unlike the flat footwork of a treadmill, hiking tests your body’s ability to quickly adapt to the rugged conditions. Ankles must be strong and sturdy to steady your structure as you scale slopes and rocky turf.
If you are new to hiking, start with an easier, flatter course. As your body begins to acclimate to this form of fitness, slowly progress on to more challenging trails. Consider purchasing some trekking poles to help with balance as you incorporate hills into your hike.
Before you go exploring new territory, always warm up the ankles with a heel walk:
Paddle Boarding. This summertime sport has gained popularity points over the past few years for being a tough workout that comes with a view. In one hour you will strengthen your balance, improve your endurance and test you core power, as well as mellow out your mind. Maintaining an upright position while paddling your way through the waves requires total-body control, which is why it’s such a calorie crusher. Expect to burn around 350-400 calories per hour.
Get your circulation flowing before paddle boarding with a back twist exercise:
Tennis. Just because Wimbledon is over, you don’t have to let your love for tennis fade. Tennis is much more than an all-star aerobic sport; it works wonders on buffing up brain health, too. The brain thrives when learning new movement patterns that test coordination, improve critical thinking, and memory. And since tennis requires creativity and dexterity, the muscles and mind become better communicators as they work to send stronger signals through neurons.
In an hour of singles tennis, you’ll burn between 450-500 calories. To avoid injury, prep your muscles prior to play with a knee hug:
Swimming. When the sweltering summer heat hits, there is no better place to cool off than at the pool. Swimming offers all the benefits of high-intensity exercise while still being nice to your joints. The only jumping required here, is into the water. Aim for 30 minutes of steady strokes. If you are new to swimming, start off with small increments of five to 10 minutes.
But before you dive in, move your muscles with butt kickers:
Canoeing/Kayaking. If summer camp was the last time you enjoyed the pleasure of rowing, it’s time to get back out there. Canoeing and kayaking engage muscles throughout the entire body. Rowing also increases stamina and cranks up your cardiovascular health. An additional bonus to rowing is that it’s a low-impact exercise, making it ideal for those suffering from sore, stiff joints.
The difficulty level of canoeing and kayaking can be modified to your skill level. A leisurely paddle still pulverizes fat, improves your overall health, and burns around 200 calories per hour. A more rigorous rowing routine will incinerate closer to 800 calories in an hour.
To prep and prime your muscles before setting sail, try a plank twist:
Transform your workout by making the outdoors your playground.