Yes, you can skip the gym and get an effective total-body workout. We asked top fitness pros to share some of their favorite outdoor exercises (typical answers like cycling and rollerblading were not accepted). Start planning your nice weather fitness bucket list here.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is an amazing outdoor exercise that tones your whole body without feeling like you’re exercising (because it’s fun, but it’s not so easy). Standing on an oversized longboard, you use a paddle to navigate across flat, calm waters. But don’t be fooled by how serene this outdoor workout looks. SUP requires the use of your entire body, with a major emphasis on core stability and control. Former pro surfer Jodi Nelson describes this outdoor workout as “hiking on water,” making it a great choice for anyone who wants to add some water to their workout routine without having to swim in it. (Related: Are Stand-Up Paddleboard Races the New Half Marathon?)
HIIT the Court
Have a basketball or volleyball court nearby? Make it your personal gym with this super-effective high-intensity interval training (HIIT) outdoor workout plan from celebrity fitness trainer Andrea Metcalf. (Related: This Influencer Shares How Playing a Sport When She Was Younger Made Her More Confident)
“This workout burns major calories and is what I did when I was training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro because it increases [maximal aerobic capacity],” says Metcalf.
How it works: Use the outline of a basketball court (or a similarly sized court) to perform the three fat-burning drills below.
Sprints (5): Sprint from one end of the court to the other, running forward and then jogging back backward. Repeat 5 times total.
Lateral hops (30): Jump over and then back along the full court line, facing forward the whole time. Do 30 hops total (1 to 2 lengths of the court),
Side shuffles (6): Do side shuffles the full distance of the court and back. Repeat 6 times total.
The entire outdoor workout should take about 15 minutes.
Fitness Scavenger Hunt
“Going for a fitness scavenger hunt is a great way to get outside and mix up your fitness routine,” says Tanner Martty, a certified personal trainer at LEAF Lifestyle in Santa Monica, California.
How it works: First, map out your route (it could be a path you typically use for jogging or walking), and then list five to 10 bodyweight exercises (push-ups, burpees, squat jumps, etc). Next to each move, write down a landmark you’ll see along your path (park bench, red light, dog on a leash, or even a black convertible).
To start your scavenger hunt, head out on your route and every time you see one of your outdoor workout landmarks, do 10 reps of the corresponding move. For example, if you listed “park bench” next to push-ups, hit the bench for a set of 10 incline or decline push-ups every time you see one. It’s a fun way to mix up your routine and add an element of play (and still keep plenty of sweat) to your typical route. (You’ll need both for all those push-ups, but what’s the real difference between muscular strength and endurance?)
“In addition to being a great outdoor workout, this will also keep your mind in the present moment, which is something that a stressful schedule can prevent us from doing,” says Martty. “If you’re actively looking for your scavenger hunt items, you can’t be worried about the presentation you have to give the next day at the office.” (Related: How Every Runner Can Benefit From Mindfulness)
Who needs a gym full of equipment when you can get a total-body strength and cardio workout just by using a variety of balls during an outdoor workout? Gather up a variety—basketballs, soccer balls, Swiss balls, whatever you’ve got—and design drills using them as weights, cones, and/or to create instability, says Laura Williams, a certified personal trainer in the UK.
How it works: Set two balls next to each other on the ground, and then place a third ball about 10 feet away. Starting on the side with two balls, pick one up and run, slide, or even dribble it between your feet to the other side. Once you get there, switch balls, leaving the one you had and picking up the one that was already there. Continue moving the balls back and forth until you’ve moved each ball 10 times to complete the outdoor workout.
Transform CrossFit into an outdoor workout with either of these workouts of the day (WODs) that use very little equipment, suggests Jason Benade, a CrossFit coach in Elk Grove, California. (Related: How to Avoid CrossFit Injuries)
Workout 1 (5 Rounds)
Workout 2 (5 Rounds)
20 Bench jumps