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5 Ways To Get Outdoors And Exercise

Updated on January 19, 2013

For many people, exercise might as well be a four letter word. It can be hard to get yourself motivated to exercise or work out, especially when you have a busy schedule. Going to a gym and getting sweaty is easy to skip when you feel like you have more important things to do. I want to show you five, maybe new to you, ways that you can get outdoors, burn some calories and hopefully not feel like you are working out. Not all of these activities may burn as many calories as running, or biking, but they will get you up on your feet and moving around, which for many people is a step in the right direction. So take a look at this list, you might just find a new hobby or interest that gets you outdoors and helps you to be more active.

Fitness Trails

If you have city parks near you, there is a good chance that at least one of them has a fitness trail. Fitness trails vary in length, but they generally have several stations along the trail that have equipment, for example a pull up bar or balance beam. There are usually instructions next to the exercise station that gives you instructions on what to do at that location. There are also often different instructions depending on how difficult or easy you want to make the exercises.

Another benefit is you can vary the workout by either walking, jogging or running between the stations to keep your heart rate up. One of the fitness trails near me is a mile long loop around a small lake. As you progress you can do additional loops to lengthen the workout.

Rock Climbing

An activity that I did a lot in high school and college is rock climbing. Though rock climbing takes a fair amount of strength, it is also about learning to balance and maneuver to avoid wasted energy. Rock climbing is great for working on upper body strength, as well as strengthening toes, feet and legs. Another benefit is some climbing locations may require a hike to get to, burning even more calories on the way.

Depending on where you live, you may not feel like you can go climbing anywhere nearby. In Colorado I have many options for climbing, but other parts of the county or world may not. If you aren't sure go to a local REI, or other store that caters to outdoors sports and ask some of the staff there if they are aware of places to climb nearby. They may also carry guidebooks that can help you locate local cliffs, plus tips on which routes to pick for a newer climber.

If all else fails and you can't find any local cliffs or crags, you can cheat by checking for an indoor gym. These gyms use fake walls and holds to recreate the climbing experience inside. They also typically rent equipment and offer lessons in belaying. A climbing gym can be a great place for a new climber to start learning the ropes.

A small geocache
A small geocache | Source


I have written several other Hubs on geocaching and you've read some of them you might guess that I enjoy geocaching a lot. Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt that uses a GPS, or GPS enabled smart phone to locate a cache that has been hidden by someone else. These typically contain a log to sign, but may also contain items to trade.

Geocaches can be found all over the world and the locations vary from parking lots, to the tops of mountains. If you want to maximize the exercise you get out of geocaching, simply find local trails that have multiple caches along the length. Load the coordinates into your GPS or smart phone and head down the trail. The geocaches give you something to look forward to and help encourage you to keep going. They also serve as a way to break up the hike, giving you a chance to take a break before moving on to the next cache.

If you want to read more about geocaching check out my Hubs on Geocaching with a Smartphone, What is a Travel Bug, and Hiding a Geocache.

Rowing or Kayaking

If you're like me, you when you hear the words "rowing" you probably think of a machine in a gym and kayaking makes me think of white water rapids. While these are certainly two excellent forms of exercise derived from rowing, there are many more forms of rowing and kayaking that you can enjoy.

Many smaller local lakes offer small row boats for rent. These can be a great way to get some exercise while traveling around on a favorite lake. And if you bring your fishing pole you can stop for some relaxation time and maybe even catch dinner. If you want to try out kayaking, you don't have to learn how to right yourself and navigate class IV rapids right away. You can either buy or rent an open top kayak. These let you navigate calmer waters and if it tips over you aren't stuck in the kayak. Slip a kayak into your local lake and you can explore the lake at your own pace. You can take it nice and slow and enjoy the ride, or race around the lake and try to set a record for the fastest time to get across the lake, lengthwise.

Your Local Park

I'm sure your local parks aren't new to you, but have you really appreciated the possibilities for exercise at your local park? There could be fitness trails, geocaching, or the chance to row, but what else is there. Some parks offer basket ball courts, football fields, baseball diamonds or tennis courts. These sports are often organized, or can be arranged between a group of friends. The competitive side of most people will help push them a little harder to win! Many parks offer other opportunities as well. Maybe you have a park nearby that offers Frisbee golf, or you could just play ultimate Frisbee in an open field. If you have kids, taking them to a park opens up the chance to play catch, Frisbee, soccer, scavenger hunts and pretty much anything else that you can think of.

These activities may not offer the same intensity as running or mountain biking, but if you don't get a chance to exercise much, they can be a great way to get outside and get moving. Feel free to share some of your own tips or ideas about outdoor activities in the comment section below.


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