Embrace the Great Outdoors: 6 Great Activities to Help You Stay Active and Healthy

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Getting outside and being active is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. There are so many fun options for outdoor activities that you’re sure to find something you love. Whether you prefer relaxing pursuits like kayaking or high intensity exercise like rock climbing, the great outdoors has something for everyone.

Getting active outdoors comes with many benefits beyond just burning calories. You can soak up fresh air, lower stress levels, and boost your mood with vitamin D. The varied terrain also engages your muscles in new ways compared to indoor fitness.

With so many varied activities, you can stay active while exploring nature. Here are six great ways to embrace the great outdoors and maintain your fitness routine in the process. The options provide something for every fitness level and preference. 

1. Hiking

Lace up your boots and hit the trails! Hiking is a fantastic way to exercise while immersing yourself in nature. Local parks usually have great beginner-friendly trails. As your endurance increases, challenge yourself with more difficult trails that have inclines or rugged terrain. Hiking engages your entire body and can burn 300-500 calories per hour depending on the intensity. Bring plenty of water and nutritious snacks to fuel your hike. Treating your body well out on the trails will help you go the distance.

2. Cycling

From casual rides around the neighborhood to intense mountain biking, cycling is a wonderful outdoor activity. Pedaling works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, and more. Riding outside allows you to see new sights and get fresh air. Road biking is great for endurance and averaging 15-20 mph. Mountain biking brings the thrills of riding over dirt trails and obstacles. BMX-style biking at skate parks is also an option if you want to work on tricks and skills. Make sure your bike is properly fitted to your body, and always wear a helmet.

3. Swimming

Dive in for a full-body workout that’s gentle on your joints! Swimming engages nearly every major muscle group as you stroke through the water. It improves cardiovascular endurance but is low impact compared to activities like running.

Do laps at your local pool, lake, or ocean beach. Focus on good technique by keeping your body aligned and streamlined in the water. Swimming is a great way to lose weight and build lean muscle. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen if you’re outdoors. Staying hydrated is also key when swimming.

4. Kayaking 

Paddle your way to fitness with kayaking! It provides an excellent upper body workout by utilizing your lats, shoulders, biceps, and more. Your core also gets a challenge as you balance and rotate your torso with each stroke. Kayaking is a fun adventure that allows you to explore rivers, lakes, and oceans under your own power.

Start slow and learn proper paddling technique. Then work up to longer distances or rougher waters. Wear a personal flotation device and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. 

5. Rock Climbing

Conquer cliffs and boulders with this total-body workout! Indoor rock climbing is a great option for beginners to learn safety and build skills. Transition outside when you feel comfortable. Climbing requires strategic problem-solving paired with athleticism.

As you scale walls and rock faces, you’ll challenge your upper body, core, and legs. Climbing works grip strength, flexibility, and stamina. Join a class or find a belay partner if you’re new to the sport. Always use proper harnesses, ropes, and shoes when climbing. Chalk up and get vertical!

6. Golf

Walk the course while improving your swing for a satisfying outdoor workout! Golf engages your core and legs as you walk between holes. Carrying your clubs can help build strength too. Swinging works your upper back, shoulders, and arms. Aim for at least 5,000 steps by parking further from your starting hole.

Stretch before teeing off to increase your mobility. Golf may seem like a leisurely activity, but you can break a sweat if you hoof it around the course. Test your skills on hills or uneven lies that challenge your balance and body control. Use both non-lifted and lifted tires to handle different terrains and elevations. Golf is a lifelong sport, so enjoy the fresh air while also burning calories!

Embracing the great outdoors is one of the healthiest things you can do. There are endless activities to raise your heart rate, challenge your abilities, and help you break a sweat. Hiking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, and golf are just a few options to stay active outdoors.

Pick an activity you enjoy so it never feels like exercise. Make it a regular habit, and you’ll reap the physical and mental health benefits. The outdoor season offers so many opportunities to improve your fitness. What will you try this year? Get outside, be active, and embrace the great outdoors!

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