13 Thrilling Outdoor Activities for a Healthy Life
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Let’s face it: finding fun ways to exercise that don’t make you want to quit are hard to come by. I’m here to tell you that is doesn’t have to be that way. You can still get plenty of hearty exercise, minus all the boring that comes along with getting into shape. Do you want to know how?
All you have to do is find some outdoor activities (or indoor activities) you can turn into a hobby. It’s really as simple as that.
I’ve always dreaded working out! Who else is with me on this one?
I hated almost every single gym class I took for school because they didn’t focus on a specific type of exercise. But once I got to high school, there were tons of different gym classes to pick from, and I chose aerobics and lifeguard training.
Why? Because I enjoy swimming (and could easily get certified as a Lifeguard by taking the class), and because my aerobics class did a lot of fun workout videos. I mean, it was a no-brainer. I would rather spend a year doing the type of workouts I enjoy doing, as opposed to something I don’t care for (such as the team sports gym class).
On top of that, my junior year of high school a family friend introduced me to rock climbing. She was my role model so of course I wanted to try it out to see what it’s like. Let me tell you now, rock climbing has turned into my absolute favorite thing to do. The best part is that I don’t even associate it with all of the other negative forms of exercise I’ve tried over the years. Rock climbing is my hobby, my passion, and it’s something that I’ll do until my old body can’t climb rocks any more.
So my goal for you is to find some outdoor activities (or maybe just one) that you can turn into a hobby. It will make working out so much easier and so much more enjoyable. I guarantee it.
The Best Outdoor Activities for Exercise
There are so many great outdoor activities that can help you get in your workout for the day. Not to mention all the fun you’ll have while doing it.
Some of the activities on this list are pretty traditional, such as taking a walk or going swimming, while others aren’t so much, like canyoneering or ice climbing. Either way, each is a form of exercise and it can be something you find you just can’t live without anymore. If that happens to be the case (which hopefully it eventually is), you’ll be so much happier and healthier, all thanks to finding a form of exercise you love and being able to stick to it.
I just wanted to say that each any every one of these outdoor activities can work for any skill level. If you’ve never had experience with some of these but think you might like them, you can definitely try them out. There are training classes or lessons for them all and you can usually rent gear if you don’t want to buy your own right away. So don’t get discouraged if it’s something you’ve never done before and you don’t have any equipment – you have options!
Now let’s get to the list!
1. Go for a Bike Ride
Going for a bike ride is a great form of cardio. This is one of the most fun ways to exercise, as it’s a fun activity to do. Many families go on bike rides together because it’s a family bonding activity – so you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Bike riding is also much easier on your body than running, so if you don’t like running, try biking!
There are stationary bike stands out there if the weather isn’t nice enough outdoors. They pretty much eliminate the need for expensive stationary bikes that you find at the gym. All you do is simply hook your bike up to the stand and ride. This can be done from the comfort of your own home and you can catch up on your favorite TV shows (or anything else).
2. Take a Walk
We walk everyday to get from point A to point B. This usually isn’t very fun, but it can be.
Getting outside and just taking a walk is very refreshing and good for your health. If you have no destination to go except forward, you can clear your mind and enjoy the great outdoors. And if you have dogs, you can take them along to get them some exercise, too!
We live almost in the country, so there are trees and dirt roads all around us. One day, I took Brownie (one of our dogs) for a 4 mile walk, and I didn’t even realize we walked that far! And I was really surprised she made it so far because she is the laziest dog in the world!
So if she can do it, you can do it too. And I guarantee you’ll really, truly enjoy it. 🙂
3. Start Hiking
Nature is absolutely beautiful! And a great way to be one with nature is to go for a hike.
Ian’s from Oregon and his parents have a lot of trails around them. When we were out there a few years ago, we went on a really beautiful hike and saw a small waterfall.
It was nice and shaded for most of the hike so it wasn’t too hot. And because a lot of it was uphill, our legs were getting a great workout. The views were amazing and it didn’t even feel like we were exercising.
If you’re unsure if hiking is for you, try it out during fall. The fall foliage will be absolutely stunning so if you take a hike when everything looks beautiful, it just might make falling in love with hiking that much easier.
4. Go for a Run on the Beach
Nothing is more relaxing than being at the beach. Keeping that in mind, it makes the beach a great place to enjoy your workout, whether you go for a run through the sand or just do body-weighted workouts. Afterwards, you can take a dip in the water to cool off!
This can be the perfect way to motivate yourself to workout on vacation. If you’re on the beach, you can get a quick workout in while taking in the breathtaking views. Then you won’t feel so guilty for all the food you’ve splurged on throughout the trip.
5. Take a Swim
Who doesn’t love swimming? Well, my dog doesn’t, even though she’s part lab. I think she’s just too lazy for added resistance the water gives.
So back to swimming. I absolutely love it. It can be calm and relaxing, yet it can also provide you with an intense workout. You can get a great cardio sesh in. And because there’s all that water you have to push through, you’re eventually going to build some muscle, which is good for the body.
Like I mentioned earlier, I took a lifeguard training class in high school and I really loved it. I got to be in the water and have it cool me down the whole time I was in there. I also didn’t have to worry about getting all sweaty and stinky.
And the good thing about swimming is that it’s a lot easier to cool off afterwards than with other forms of exercise. All you have to do is get out of the water and the ambient air will cool you down.
6. Get into Kayaking
Kayaking is a great form of exercise, and it’s a great way to lose weight.
Ian’s parents both kayak regularly and have lost a lot of weight since they started. Kayaking utilizes a lot of muscles in your body, such as your back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and abs. Not to mention the great cardio workout it provides.
I plan on learning how to kayak next year so I can go see the Pictured Rocks in the UP. I’m so pumped to experience them! If you haven’t been kayaking before, you should definitely try it.
7. Take Up Rock Climbing
No matter what your skill level is, anybody can rock climb. There are indoor gyms with climbing walls where you can rent or buy equipment and take a climbing lesson. They have several different walls you can climb by yourself or with a partner to make sure you don’t fall.
As you know, my junior year of high school I started rock climbing and I’m very glad I did. It brings me so much joy and it’s one of the things I enjoy doing most in this world. It challenges me both mentally and physically, which I absolutely love.
When you’re short like me (5’1″), it can be a little difficult to reach the holds. This makes me stop and think the best route to take and how I should angle my body. Most of the times I have to jump up a little bit to reach them, and when I do, it’s so exhilarating! It gives me the courage and strength to keep going and keep pushing myself to do better, and it’s such an amazing feeling. Now when I don’t make it, I have to regroup and figure out another plan of action or just try to jump a little higher. The only time I quit a route is when my grip strength is completely shot and my forearms are killing me. Then I’ll come back to that route another time and work on it until I can finish it.
This is something that can be said about any sport or any type of outdoor activities that you’re passionate about. You set yourself goals, challenge yourself, and push yourself to do better each and every day. When you find yourself doing these things, then you know you’ve found your calling. After that, exercising won’t seem like a chore anymore.
8. Become an Ice Climber
Ice climbing is similar to rock climbing, except it involves ice. I’m not a fan of the cold so I won’t be trying it anytime soon, but I know a lot of people who ice climb. A dear friend of mine was a rock climber, ice climber, windsurfer, kite boarder, etc. You name it, she did it. She was in great shape and doing these things made her happy.
And a great way to train for ice climbing is by rock climbing. Many people at my climbing gym are also ice climbers since the sports are fairly similar.
Now here’s something to think about: If you haven’t seen Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster, I suggest you watch it. Pretty much all of the winners are either rock climbers or ice climbers. A lot of those courses require excellent grip strength and a strong upper body, which is what climbing focuses on. It just goes to show how much rock climbing and ice climbing work your body more than other forms of exercise.
9. Start Backpacking
A few of my friends did a study abroad term in Germany this past spring. Every weekend they were going to new countries and exploring new places. And because they didn’t have cars, they walked almost everywhere (aside from using the train).
There’s nothing more exciting than experiencing a new country and seeing all it has to offer. In the process, you’re incorporating a lot of exercise without even realizing it.
10. Become a Yogi
Yoga is extremely good for your mind, body, and soul. It’s very calm and relaxing and really stretches all your muscles. You can do it indoors or outdoors, with a class or by yourself. Either way, it will be nice and peaceful.
So if you have a very hectic life, try taking up yoga. It will help relax you and you’ll be able to move your body in ways you never thought possible. Do a quick Google search of yoga videos and you’ll find some awesome free ones to try!
Here’s a great Instagram account to follow for some yoga inspiration. She makes it look so enjoyable.
11. Pull Out the Skates
Roller and ice skating is another fun way to exercise. My younger brother has been playing hockey since he was 6 and he is fit as a fiddle. Now I’m not saying you need to take up hockey, but to just go to the ice or roller rink and skate!
Skating is such a great form of exercise, as you’ve got the added resistance of the skates on ice / roller rink / pavement. It’s a great form of cardio and it’s a fun one, too. Not to mention you can do it indoors or outdoors, any time of the year.
Surfing works several muscles, such as your biceps, triceps, delts, abs, and obliques. Needless to say, it’s a pretty good workout.
Surfing requires some insane skills and with practice, you can get there. So if you’re not afraid of the water and have always wanted to try it, why not give it a shot?
This is something I dream of doing one day!
Canyoneering is one of the greatest outdoor activities. It’s a mixture of several different exercises, including swimming, hiking, and rappelling. You get to go through caves and canyons. One of the best places to experience canyoneering is the Zion National Park. If you click on that link, you can find more information about it. Maybe on your next trip out there, you can setup a canyoneering trip and experience something amazing.
There’s nothing more rewarding than working out and actually enjoying it. I really hope this list helps you find a new hobby that you can keep working towards and improving on. There’s nothing more important than being happy and healthy. 🙂
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