A gorgeous summer day spent in the gym? No thanks! Take advantage of sunny skies and cool breezes this summer by getting active. According to several studies, exercising outdoors can reduce feelings of sadness and depression, improve mood and lower stress. It also helps the body absorb essential Vitamin D, which is gained from exposure to sunlight. If you’re feeling like shaking things up a bit on your next outdoor workout, try these seven easy yet effective exercises!
Try a HIIT workout
HIIT, aka high-intensity interval training, is a challenging yet rewarding workout that’s ideal for busy people who don’t have time to spend hours at the gym. Usually no more than 30 minutes, HIIT workouts combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. This could mean sprints, pushups, sit ups, jump squats, burpees…the type of high-intensity exercise is totally up to you! HIIT workouts burn up to 30% more calories and fat than a regular aerobic exercise. You’ll even burn calories after you stop exercising because of increased metabolism. If you’re unsure where to start, search through YouTube or check out Orangetheory, a science-backed fitness company offering introductory HIIT-style classes.
Jump rope like a kid again
A throwback to childhood, jumping rope is not only fun, cheap and easy, it’s also great for your heart and brain health. Just 20 minutes of jumping rope can burn more calories than running a mile! It also improves coordination, strengthens shoulder and leg muscles and boosts metabolism, ensuring an effective workout that can be done at the park or on your driveway. Use it as a warmup or work it into a HIIT routine. Either way, jumping rope is one of the best outdoor workouts.
Take a horseback riding lesson
Horseback riding offers a multitude of physical and mental benefits. Whether you try it on vacation or at your local stable, riding a horse is a relaxing and fun exercise that increases core strength, improves posture, and tones muscles. Horseback riding is also considered therapeutic and can work wonders on your mental health. Equine therapy has been proven to help with stress management, emotional awareness and interpersonal relationships.
Practice yoga on the beach or at a park
Take your yoga mat to the great outdoors! Practice your asanas and pranayama with an outdoor yoga session that will relax your mind, improve flexibility and help you sleep better. And what’s better than a solo yoga session than a group yoga session? Check your local parks, beaches or yoga studios to see if you can find an outdoor yoga class that’s open to everyone.
Cannonball into a pool
Nothing says summer quite like jumping into the pool. Luckily, aquatic exercise is one of the best workouts and is easy on the body, which is great for seniors or those recovering from an injury. Try your best backstroke, freestyle or butterfly or play a game of Marco Polo with the kids. Swimming is great for getting in shape as it uses all your muscles, and it also builds endurance and keeps your heart rate up. You can also try other water-based exercise like surfing, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking.
Go on a bike ride
Whether for leisure or for sport, bike riding is an exhilarating way to spend a summer afternoon. Switch up your work commute or dedicate a weekend morning to bike riding and watch the benefits roll in. Even a short bike ride can relieve stress, improve muscle strength and boost brain health. Add hills for more of a workout or take it nice and easy on a beachside path.
Who says exercise has to make you sweat? Gardening can have many benefits of an intense workout, without the stress on the body. You’ll need to spend at least 30 minutes tending to your garden to get a good workout, but who’s thinking of exercise when you’re planting vegetables and picking flowers? The fresh air, sunshine and plants will help you feel reinvigorated and help your overall mental health. If you don’t have a space of your own, volunteer at a local park or community garden.
Enjoy the dog days of summer with these fun outdoor exercises!
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