Why You Should Exercise Outside and 5 Outdoor Workouts to Try Today in Hawaii

Hawaii’s year-round sunshine makes it the perfect climate to play in the sun while burning calories.

Medically reviewed in July 2022

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One of the benefits to living in the tropics is consistently warm weather and reliable sunshine. With cool trade winds and a beautiful landscape, you may feel the call to head outside and run around. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. One study suggests that people living in an area with increased access to the natural environment have better attitudes towards physical activity.

Spending time exercising outdoors may also give you added health benefits to working out inside. Time in the sun can help regulate your sleep and also increase your vitamin D levels, as exposure to sunshine triggers your skin to produce the vital vitamin. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating the absorption of certain nutrients in your body and helps immune function and bone health.

For those who prefer exercising indoors, don’t worry, all exercise will benefit your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American adults should be getting at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (like jogging) weekly. In addition, the CDC recommends adults do strength training of at least moderate intensity on all major muscle groups at least twice a week. The CDC doesn’t specify where or how you get your exercise in.

If you’re interested in beginning a new activity but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got five fun workouts to try around the islands. Of course, always consult your physician to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise before starting a new workout regime. Also be sure to wear reef-safe sunscreen and light layers of clothing when spending time in the sun to protect your skin.

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Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, has been all the rage in recent years. This sport uses a board that is longer and wider than a typical surfboard and adds a long paddle to get around. You can leisurely tool around the ocean in flat areas or try for speed to get a bigger workout. Leisurely SUPing can burn 300 to 430 calories in an hour depending on your size and fitness level. This sport is also typically low-impact, making it ideal for people of all ages.

Want an extra challenge? Take a SUP yoga class to test your balance and agility. Just make sure your yoga pants are water-resistant in case you fall in. If yoga or even standing on your board sounds like too much of a balancing act, you can still benefit from the sport by sitting or kneeling on your board while paddling.

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Why go to a studio when you can take a yoga class on the beach or at the park? Some resorts offer beach yoga classes that locals can attend for a fee, and yoga instructors across the state host classes at parks or other outdoor spaces that you can find online. Practicing outside on an uneven surface like sand can challenge your balance for an added workout.

Yoga is an ancient tradition that hails from India and has gained popularity in the US over the past several decades. It incorporates stretching, balance, breathing and mindfulness to exercise your body and mind. Yoga may also relieve stress and anxiety while improving your strength and flexibility. You can burn 300 calories an hour in a typical yoga class, depending on the intensity and your size.

Think you can’t do yoga because you can’t touch your toes? Think again. Yoga is an inclusive practice that anyone can participate in. Let your instructor know of any physical limitations you may have so that they can help you modify any postures that are difficult.

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Running or Walking

Running and walking are both great ways to get outside and moving without spending a ton of cash. You can start by simply walking or jogging around your neighborhood and gradually increase your distance and speed. An hour of running or jogging can burn 600 to 1,000 calories, while walking may burn 250 to 330 calories in an hour.

One way to get into a walking habit is to join a Walking Moai with Blue Zones Project Hawaii. These groups of five to eight people meet for walks at least once a week for 10 weeks in different communities in Hawaii. This helps participants exercise while making friends in their neighborhood.

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It’s always beach volleyball season in Hawaii. Many beaches have volleyball nets available year-round and sometimes host competitions.

Get a ball and a group of friends together for a fun game at your favorite beach. Afterwards you can reward yourself with a quick dip and some time lying out in the sand. That fun game may burn 600 calories in an hour depending on your size and how competitively you play.

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Intramural Sports

Looking for a little structure and maybe some comradery in your workout? Consider joining an intramural sports league. Gyms and community centers often host their own small sports leagues designed for adults. You can find soccer, kickball or softball at various locations around Hawaii, along with several indoor sports like basketball or dodgeball.

Working out with a team may have added health benefits. Spending time with friends can lower your stress and may even increase longevity. Sports teams can help you make friends and have social interactions as you improve your fitness.

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