“Wholesome exercise in the free air, under the wide sky, is the best medicine.”

Sarah Louise Arnold

While the appeal of the gym is obvious because of the climate control and convenience, recent studies suggest that the benefits of exercising outdoors cannot be replicated on a treadmill, recumbent bicycle, or a track.

There are tons of things you can do outside to get a good workout such as running, hiking, cycling, walking, playing a sport, or swimming. Gather the family and invite your friends to join you outdoors this weekend!

Here, you’ll find tips on:
1) How to create workout opportunities around your neighborhood
2) How to get focused and stay focused on your fitness goals
3) Why training outdoors is far better for you than indoors

11 Activities to Get You Moving Outdoors

  • Tennis: Serving and volleying benefit your arms, shoulders, and back muscles. Playing tennis also increases aerobic capacities.
  • Beach volleyball: Every serve and spike helps tone your arms, abs, legs, and chest. Sand workouts burn more calories than workouts performed on solid ground. With all the jumping, diving, and running required, you’ll work up a sweat in no time. Plus, if you fall, it is on soft sand!
  • Swimming: This is basically a full-body workout. It keeps your heart rate up and takes some of the impact stress off your body.
  • Cycling: Riding a bike involves powering up hills and helps tighten and tone your legs, hips, and glutes. It also benefits your cardiovascular fitness.
  • Softball: Swinging and throwing work your chest, arms, legs, abs, shoulders, and back. It is also a shared enjoyment with friends and family.
  • Hiking: Hiking a trail works out your body as much as it does your brain. Just one hour of trekking can burn well over 500 calories.
  • Canoeing: The resistance of paddling through water helps tone your arms and strengthen your back. This option allows you to enjoy the sun and water while getting a workout in. You’ll be having so much fun, you won’t even realize how hard you’re working.
  • Golf: With every swing, you work your arms, abs, back, and shoulders.
  • Gardening: All the bending and twisting required to plant and weed works your core from every angle. A major benefit is the beautiful flowers and vegetables that you will be growing along the way!
  • Horseback Riding: Gripping the saddle gives your inner thighs and glutes an incredible workout.
  • Frisbee: Tossing the frisbee gives the chest, arms, shoulders, abs, and legs a great workout.

Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

While Americans spend 93 percent of their time indoors, research shows fresh air, plants, trees, and natural outdoor elements have a positive effect on our health and well-being.
People Sports

The greatest thing about doing activities outdoors, no matter where you are, is the ever-changing terrain. Additionally, the quality of outdoor air is cleaner than indoor air by three times – that is 75 percent cleaner.

In recent studies, the participants reported enjoying outside activity more. On psychological tests, they scored significantly higher in the categories of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem. Simultaneously, they scored lower on tension, depression, and fatigue after they worked out outside.

Summary So lace up your shoes and go find a reason to be in the sun. When the weather warms up, it creates opportunities to benefit you and your health by getting active outdoors!

Disclaimer: Any information provided is not intended as medical advice. Iowa Diabetes is not responsible for any information from third parties.