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5 Workouts That Are More Fun Outside

Sure, you could do these moves at the gym, but taking them outdoors kicks up the fun and overall health benefit.

Medically reviewed in January 2022

Updated on January 14, 2022

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When the weather is gorgeous, who wants to work out in a gym? Not only does outdoor exercise give you the health benefits of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” it can also increase your likelihood of sticking to a weight-loss plan.

The keys to a successful sweat session are adequate hydrationsunblock, and a really fun activity—so you’ll be excited to get out there even when the weather is not optimal. Check out these great ideas for outdoor workouts.

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Outdoor Yoga

Mix up your next yoga session by taking it outdoors. Yoga is known for its stress-relieving effects, but it can also improve memory, relieve chronic pain, and even help you sleep. Taking your yoga practice outside—on your own or in a class—provides an even greater sense of calm and relaxation. New to yoga? Grab your mat and do this beginner routine outside.

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Trail and Beach Running

We know: Treadmill running can get old, fast. But running the same route through your neighborhood can also lead to motivational malaise. Try changing your setting—and increasing the challenge—by running on a different surface.

You could hit a trail and jog on dirt or gravel, or consider beach running: Running on the sand requires more work from your body and, in turn, burns more calories than regular running. It's also a great resistance workout for your legs and can improve the strength of your calves and ankles. Bonus: You can jump in the water to cool off when you’re done.

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Hula Hooping

Grab the kids and head outside for this silly, slimming workout. Hula hooping is a great way to keep kids active while burning serious calories (up to 600 an hour). It strengthens and tightens nearly thirty different core muscles, and after a long day sitting at your desk, it’s a great way to strengthen the muscles in your lower back. “Hooping” also works your arms, legs, and butt.

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Hiking

The StairMaster is great exercise for your calves, quads, and glutes, but you can get much of the same benefit—plus amazing views—by going for a scenic hike. Hiking uses nearly every muscle group and can lower your blood pressure and help prevent heart disease. The fresh air and green scenery can also lower anxiety and boost your mood.

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Rock Climbing

Rock climbing gyms are all the rage, and for good reason: You get a total-body workout plus a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of the wall.

For a real adventure, though, take your skills outdoors. Climbing helps increase your range of motion, coordination, and flexibility. Plus, it’s a great workout for your mind, forcing you to engage your problem-solving skills. If you’re ready to hit the mountains, remember that rock climbing requires plenty of practice and some serious gear. It’s always best to climb with friends —and ideally an experienced guide—so look up climbing schools and outfitters in your area and plan your trip today.

Slideshow sources open slideshow sources

Jakicic JM, Powell KE, Campbell WW, et al. Physical activity and the prevention of weight gain in adults: A systematic review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019;51(6):1262-1269.
Gothe NP, Khan I, Hayes J, Erlenbach E, Damoiseaux JS. Yoga effects on brain health: A systematic review of the current literature. Brain Plast. 2019;5(1):105-122.
Pinnington HC, Dawson B. The energy cost of running on grass compared to soft dry beach sand. J Sci Med Sport. 2001;4(4):416-430.
Chen W-H, Yang W-W, Liu Y-C, Pan W-H, Liu C. Effects of hula hooping and mini hooping on core muscle activation and hip movement. Proceedings of the IMechE. 2018;233(1):175433711880782.

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