Winter has kept many of us locked indoors forced to work out in our bedroom, office, or family room between couches and tables. Or for some, the local gym if you have access and don’t mind working out in a mask! Or maybe you’ve had a hard time staying motivated through this quarantine and haven’t touched those dumbbells in longer than you are willing to admit. But now it’s spring and the sun is shining and it’s time to stretch your legs — and your muscles — into the outdoors for some fun fitness activities.
Here are 8 fun outdoor workout ideas (and health benefits!) to get sweating outside as you start waking up from your winter hibernation.
The benefits of outdoor exercise
Did you know that the average American spends about 90% of their life indoors? If that isn’t motivation enough to get outside, let’s break down some of the mental and physical health benefits of outdoor exercise:
- Take in some Vitamin D: It’s called the sunshine vitamin for a reason! Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, which helps protect against everything from depression to osteoporosis and more. Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen though!
- Boost your mood: Thanks to low sunlight in the winter many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. This is because light has a heavy effect on your mood. Now that the sun is shining again, getting outside can do wonders for your mental health.
- Connect with nature: Being stuck inside disconnects you from the world outside. Spending even a few minutes outside a day can help you feel more connected to the world and to the natural environment. Time to get outside and experience the sounds and smells of spring!
- Increase your energy levels: Exercise is an energy boost in and of itself. Now add in some time outdoors and you’ve got yourself a powerful wake-me-up that’s stronger than a cup of coffee.
So what are you waiting for? Time to get outside and start sweating with one of these fun outdoor activities.
8 Fun Outdoor Exercise Ideas
#1: Backyard Sports
Time to throw and kick things that you could never do indoors! Break out the football, soccer ball, baseball, volleyball, or any ball for that matter, and invite some friends over for an outdoor sports hang and workout.
It’s time to rep those muscle tanks and brand new joggers with the crew in the great outdoors. Don’t have a backyard? Head to your local field or park for more space.
- Basketball– find your local basketball court and shoot some hoops!
- Baseball– Bring over a few friends and color coordinate with your team. You don’t need much other than a bat, a ball, and some creativity for bases.
- Flag football– Grab some spare towels or washcloths and stick them in your leggings in replacement for flags. Grab some friends and a football and head to the park.
- Soccer– Don’t have a soccer field? Use cones or make the trees your net.
- Volleyball– Head to the beach or find a volleyball court and practice your spikes and shots like a pro.
- Going solo? Use the ball to get in some drill practice!
#2: Turn your backyard into a boot camp
It’s hard to create different workout stations when you are limited to 5 by 6 feet of space between your desk and dresser. But with the great outdoors you can turn your backyard or local park into different circuit stations.
Want to make it social? Invite over some friends for a socially distanced boot camp workout. Make it interactive with everyone choosing one station and turn it into a friendly competition to keep your heart rates up.
Circuit station workout ideas:
- Pushups (Barbella pro tip: use your April Barbella Box pushup handles for an extra challenge!)
- Jump rope (Barbella sneak peek: our May Barbella box will feature a jump rope if you don’t already have one!)
- Air Squats (Barbella pro tip: use your Exo Sandbag trainer for an extra challenge!)
- Pistol squats
- Jumping Jacks
- Football runs
#3: Go for a run and add in some on-the-go strength training!
Running is a great way to get outdoors and get some cardio in. After a year of quarantine, we’ve all mastered the bodyweight or at-home strength conditioning exercises. But don’t forget that your body needs cardiovascular activity to stay healthy and build your endurance.
With the birds chirping and the sun shining now is the best time to run a new route, explore a new park, or give trail running a try. If you want an extra challenge, add in some strength training or cardio exercises along the way or after you finish. Items like a resistance band, mobility strap, or suspension trainer can make your outdoor run that much more exciting.
Don’t have any fun equipment to bring along? Use nature! Make it a goal to do 10 incline push-ups every time you pass a bench or use a tree for a wall sit. Get creative and have fun with it!
On-the-go creative training ideas:
- Bench tricep dips
- Hill sprints
- Sidewalk toe taps
- Incline or decline pushups against a tree
- Tree wall sits
- Barbella Pro tip: wrap your resistance band, mobility strap, or suspension trainer around a tree, pole, or bench and rep out some push and pull upper body exercises!
- Hate running? Swap out for rollerblades instead! Still cardio but far less impact on your joints.
#4: Find some stairs
Head to your local high school track or football field and use those bleachers to your advantage. Channel your inner Rocky as you run up and down the bleachers getting your heart rate up. Or make it a strength workout and practice your push-ups or box jumps.
Don’t have access to bleachers? No worries, any set of stairs will work! No stairs at all? Find a hill you can run up instead! The goal is to get your heart rate up with something a little bit different than another run around the neighborhood.
Stair exercise ideas:
- Stair/bleacher sprints
- Every-others (take the stairs two at a time!)
- Bulgarian split squats
- Side squats
- Stair lunge
- Incline pushups
- Stair hops
- Step-up with knee raise
- Step-up to reverse lunge
- Triceps stair dip
- Skater steps
- Elevated mountain climbers
#5: Have fun at the playground!
Channel your inner child and get yourself to your local playground! There is a ton of workout potential at the playground. Think of all the exercises you can do with access to some monkey bars, stairs, benches, railings, and more. The only thing you need for a great workout is a little bit of creativity.
Playground fitness ideas:
- Monkey bars: Pull-ups, chins-ups, hanging crunches, swinging on the monkey bars (challenge yourself to make it all the way!)
- Benches or end of a slide: jump squats, lunges, elevated pushups, tricep dips, pistol squat practice
- Swings: Lean your belly against the swing and do some mountain climbers or lean into your elbows on the swing and practice holding an elevated plank, extending your elbows out long to engage your core
- Stairs: Running drills, lunges, squat jumps
- Railings: Railing dips, inverted rows
#6: Take your workout… outside
Yes, it can be just as simple as that! Whatever workout you were repping out on your living room floor you can also do in a wide-open field. The benefit is now you have much more space and are taking in that warm, fresh air as you workout.
Maybe you’ve been feeling a bit pent up at home and this spring could be a great opportunity to travel with your dumbbells and yoga mat to your local park or even a friend’s backyard.
Switching up the scenery for your workout can have amazing benefits for your mental and physical health! Plus, getting some outside time could provide the perfect backdrop to center you in the moment and find more inner peace.
Workout idea: Bring your CrossFit WOD outside with these six pleasantly soul-crushing no-equipment workout ideas!
#7: Spend some quality time with your furry friends
It’s not just your pet who could use a walk, that walk is also a great chance for you to get outside, step away from your computer screen, and de-stress. Head to a new park for some new sniff opportunities for your dog while you enjoy spending time outside.
Working out doesn’t always have to be intense. Plus we all need rest days of active recovery! Sometimes those moments going for a walk or lounging outside with your best furry friend can do wonders for your health and happiness.
Pet 1:1 outdoor ideas:
- Go for a walk around the block or try out a new park.
- Go for a hike! Nicer weather is good enough reason to make that trip to the trail. Not only will your pet appreciate the exercise but it could be a great opportunity to set up a puppy play date with friends who you haven’t seen all winter.
- Enjoy the sunshine together as you rep out some ab exercises on your mat.
- Namaste outside with your pet with some stretches or yoga.
- Or take a rest day and bring your work outside with your pet, enjoying that extra vitamin D!
#8: Rep out some running drills
Whether you consider yourself a runner or not, sometimes the best workout involves running as fast as you can from point A to point B and doing it again, and again, and again. Grab some cones or any items hanging around your house and lay them out to create different stations. Try running back and forth between each one, timing yourself and pushing to go faster each time. Add in some high knees, lunges, or other drills to keep things interesting and stay moving.
Running drill ideas:
- High knees
- A-skip or high knee skips
- Butt kicks
- Football runs
- Walking lunges
- Carioca or grapevines (pro tip: drive one knee up for more of a challenge)
- Footwork practice (pro tip: line up a few cones or other items to practice quick feet drills shuffling in between each one!)
- Barbella Pro tip: lay down two resistance bands or any long item on the ground to create four squares. Practice hopping in between each one or do some plyometric quick footwork practice.
Need some more workout inspiration? Check out our free 21-day workout guide for more ideas. Plus make sure to sign up for our next month’s fitness subscription box delivery for workout inspiration and equipment for your next outdoor adventure.