With summer just around the corner we’re all itching to get out into the sunshine. But the best thing about summer is the endless amount of activities that can be done outdoors. Hiking, cycling, swimming… Not only are these ventures healthy for your body, but studies have shown that being outside can relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. After a few sessions outside you’ll start to feel stronger, and after a month you’ll start to see the difference. Your body will look more toned and fit throughout the whole summer.
If you haven’t been outside that much and aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps you’re already hitting the great outdoors but want to explore something new. With the vast amount of things to do outdoors, which activities are best for you? Here are five outdoor activities to keep you looking fit and feeling great!
Let’s start with the basics. Hiking is an excellent introduction to the outdoors. It’s cheap (gas and five dollar parking are your main concerns) and there are different levels for varying abilities — from a flat lake walk to a mountain summit.
Hiking is excellent for burning calories, and the distraction of being outdoors keeps your mind off the discomfort that exercise can bring. Hiking also will strengthen and tone up your legs, especially if you’re on steeper terrain. A higher footstep involves more glute activation, so go out and get those gains at the top.
Time to level up. If you enjoy hiking and want to increase the intensity, try adding running to the mix. Trail running is an excellent way to see the beauty of nature and get that fit body you’ve been wanting. Trail running not only involves getting your heart rate up for significant calorie burn, but your legs will become stronger and more toned. The perk here is that there’s no pressure. You have the freedom to choose the difficulty and pace that you want! If you’re running down a descent, then hit an uphill section and decide to walk up it, that’s fine. Alternatively, you can go full send and keep your pace up the entire time. Either way you’re getting out and getting fit!
Stand up paddleboarding
Paddleboarding is a brilliant upper body toning activity and can help improve your balance and stability. When standing on a paddleboard, your legs are constantly adjusting with the movement of the water. Add paddle to push yourself along and it’s a whole new level of balancing act. If you’re nervous, kneeling is easier than standing as your center of gravity is closer to the ground. This stabilizes you a little more, meaning less work to stay balanced. If there’s space on the board, you can also spread your knees a little further apart to make the balance even easier. Next time you go to a lake, find a paddleboard rental shop and give it a go! (Swimming skills required — just in case.)
Surfing is one of the more intense physical activities you can get into. But as a cardiovascular, full body exercise, it’s also one of the best workouts you can do. Your arms pull you and a board through the waves, paddling as hard as you can. When you catch a wave, you explode up from your legs and use them to control the board. Then you start again!
It doesn’t always go that well for beginners as getting out past the waves and understanding the motions can be tough — but it’s definitely exhilarating. Your arms and legs will get toned, and you might even get a tan, too!
Mountain biking is another intense summer outdoor activity. Your legs get toned when pedalling uphill, and you strengthen your arms when bracing and turning on downhill slopes. Your heart rate is up the entire time, you improve your coordination skills, and you burn so many calories. Remember, while mountain biking is fun, it is an extreme sport. Start on beginner tracks or those that are your level, then work your way up. Happy riding!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
Main Photo Credit: LovetheLifeyouLive/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: JGA/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Wonderful Nature/shutterstock.com