Exercise in the Great Outdoors

Exercise doesn’t have to mean hours in the gym lifting weights or using step machines and treadmills. This summer, change your routine and get fit with fun outdoor activities. Whether you’d rather go on a muscle-building adventure or incorporate a new activity into your weekly schedule, there are all kinds of ways to get in shape outside.

1. Swimming

Calories Burned: 540 per hour

Summer’s favorite activity has a surprising number of benefits, especially for those with joint issues. This refreshing and fun cardiovascular workout exercises all the main muscles groups, toning and conditioning the body. The water’s buoyancy cushions fragile bones and stiff joints, permitting individuals who are unable to do other workouts, such as strength training, to participate.

2. Jump Rope

Calories burned: 10+ per minute

Take a trip back to elementary school days on the playground with a hobby kids love—jumping rope. Though it may seem juvenile, jumping rope is actually a versatile cardio-building, fat-burning and body-sculpting activity often used to train professional athletes. Put an end to the excuses of not having the proper equipment or the time for a workout. All this requires is a jump rope, which can be kept in a bag, briefcase or car.

3. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Calories Burned: 400 per hour

Not every workout has to be an intense, fast-paced endeavor. Disguised as a tranquil activity, stand up paddle boarding is a calming, but highly engaging, workout. In addition to requiring constant utilization of your core for control and stability, it also provides wonderful benefits to your arms, legs, shoulders and back without the jarring motions that could cause injuries. As a bonus, the sightseeing adventure on the May River, Broad Creek or the Atlantic Ocean is fabulous!

4. Kayaking

Calories burned: 340 per hour

If balance atop a floating paddleboard isn’t something that comes naturally, kayaking is a great alternative. The repetitive activity of rowing provides a great workout for shoulders, triceps and biceps. It is a much easier undertaking for beginners, and the paddling action can be just as effective as weightlifting.

5. Cycling

Calories burned: 500+ per hour

With an abundance of bike paths on nearby Hilton Head Island and the five-mile New River Linear Trail in Bluffton, it is easy to grab a bike and take a ride. Biking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that is enjoyable and effective. In addition to working out the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, cycling also tones calves and abs when in a reclined position. It can be a fun group activity or serene solo outing, perfect for exploring new neighborhoods, parks, trails and paths.

6. Yoga

Calories burned: 300 per hour

In the Lowcountry, “hot” yoga simply means performing this meditative exercise outdoors. Several yogapractitioners indicate that a hot space increases the calories burned and the amount of toxins released from your body, but regardless of this statement’s validity, yoga has all kinds of positive effects. Known for reducing stress, increasing flexibility and balance and reducing cholesterol, yoga can also lessen chronic pain. It is something people of all ages can try and do their own way—whether that be on top of a paddleboard, in the park with friends or alone at the beach.

7. Calisthenics

Calories Burned: 200-400 per hour

exerciseNo weights, no memberships, no machines or accessories needed—not even a rope, bike or mat. This form of physical exercise encourages a creative approach to a great physique, and consists of a combination of rhythmic movements such as running, swinging, pushing or pulling. It is similar to dance, but instead of spinning across the floor, calisthenics may switch from squats or lunges to holding the plank position, followed by a set of pull-ups or push-ups. Instead of relying on equipment, calisthenics uses a person’s own body weight to build muscle, and is popular with sports teams, military units and Parkour (a non-competitive sport that involves efficient movement around obstacles) enthusiasts.

8. Running

Calories Burned: about 11 per minute

Running is one of the best cardiovascular workouts available, rapidly burning calories and shedding fat. Running outdoors is a great way to discover new places and enjoy the scenery while strengthening your heart. This full-body workout helps prevent strokes, diabetes and reduces the risk of heart disease.

9. Gardening

Calories Burned: 200-400 per hour

Ask your spouse and he/she may insist that gardening does not count as exercise, but we’d have to disagree—and so would a few others. In fact, a study published in the HortTechnology Journal found that several yard-related tasks qualified as moderate- to high-intensity physical activity, including digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing and harvesting. This summer, take a cue from Cahill’s and plant some delicious veggies or fruits! Not only will you get some healthy food out of the exercise, but also a good workout.

10. Walking

Calories Burned: 150 per hour

walking on the beachWalking is literally the first step to getting healthy. If you have found an excuse for every other activity listed above, you are out of excuses on this one. Whether it’s just parking further away at the grocery store, taking your dog on an extra-long walk or deciding to join a few friends to walk a couple miles each morning, this outdoor activity helps reduce body fat, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk for arthritis and hip fractures.