Must-Try Outdoor Workouts and Outdoor Fitness Classes

Get Sweaty in the Sun With These Heart-Pumping Outdoor Workouts

When you exercise outside, you give yourself the chance to enjoy the fresh air, take a break from ever-present electronics, and really experience the world as the big, beautiful place it is. In fact, studies have shown that outdoor workouts are more mentally revitalizing than indoor workouts; they increase energy and positive engagement, decrease tension, anger, and depression, and result in a greater feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction.

But enjoying an outdoor workout doesn't have to mean going for a walk or riding a bike (although those are great, too!). If you're looking for an exciting way to get active in the sun, check out a few of these outdoor fitness classes and workouts. 


Cycling on a Hydrobike. Laura Williams

Hit the river, lake, or ocean with a Hydrocycle. Cycling on the water with one of these special-made hydro bikes is almost exactly like cycling on land... except that you can take a dip in the water if you need to cool off.

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Land-Based Surfing

Hamboards are just one land-based surf option.. Hamboard

You don't have to be a talented swimmer to enjoy the benefits of surfing. Numerous companies are developing innovative ways to bring surfing-style workouts to the landlocked masses. Check out three of the coolest options.

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Stand Up Paddleboarding

Laura Williams

Challenge your balance, coordination, and upper body strength as you take a spin around the lake on a stand up paddleboard.

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Park Workouts

Swing lunge. Laura Williams

Next time you take your kids to the park, plan on doing your own workout. The number of exercises you can perform using playground equipment and your own body weight are practically endless, but check out this article for a suspension training-inspired routine that uses nothing but a swing. 

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Parcourse Workouts

Example of a parcourse set up.. Playworld Systems

Do you have a parcourse near you? These fitness trail systems commonly installed around public parks make it easy for anyone to take a hike... while adding strength training moves to the workout as well.

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Bleacher Workouts

Running bleachers. Chuck Allen, Flickr,

Head to your local high school or university and hit the bleachers for a tough stadium workout. Click through to find an easy-to-follow boot camp-style program put together by Badass Fitness Studio owner, Shannon Colavecchio.

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DISQ Workouts

Using the DISQ. Laura Williams

Strength training isn't easy when you're on the run, but the new waist-strapped DISQ makes it possible to do just about any exercise without lugging around a set of weights. Learn more about the system's pros and cons. 

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Obstacle Course Racing

Woman running through an obstacle course race.. Seth Joel/Getty Images/Photographer's Choice

Obstacle course racing is booming, and the industry is filled with races geared to newbies, professionals, and everyone in between. The challenge is that the industry is still highly unregulated, so it's important to understand the risk. If you choose to sign up for an event, do your own due diligence and learn how to stay safe and injury-free in the process.

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Fitness Hiking

Paul Bradbury, Royalty Free

Next time you take a vacation, why not go Fitpacking? These week-long wilderness hikes led by trained guides are an excellent way to jump start a fitness routine while having fun with other hikers.

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Outdoor Boot Camps

Camp Gladiator
Camp Gladiator. Camp Gladiator

Outdoor boot camps are a popular way to enjoy regular, trainer-led classes without being confined to a gym. You can expect to run drills, perform body weight exercises, and develop close friendships with your fellow participants. While camps vary by location, click through to learn about one of the country's fastest-growing outdoor boot camps, Camp Gladiator. 

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Outdoor Cardio Equipment

StreetStrider. StreetStrider

A good ol' bicycle is the most obvious piece of outdoor cardio equipment, but it's hardly the only one available to intrepid outdoor exercisers. Check out these four other options that include StreetStriders and ElliptiGOs - they may look funny, but why should that stop you from trying them out?

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Outdoor Yoga Classes

Bryant Park Yoga
Bryant Park Corporation

Yoga and other mind-body classes like Tai Chi are often found as outdoor workouts when warmer weather hits. Check with your local parks department to see whether they host free classes for the community. For instance, if you live in or near New York City, you can attend a full Bryant Park yoga series taught by some of the best local instructors. Click through the link to learn more about this series. 

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GORUCK Good Livin' Challenges

Aside from walking or hiking, rucking is about as simple as exercise comes. Simply strap a backpack to your back and head outside for a hike. In addition to the heart-boosting effort of a walk, you'll build greater lower body strength as you walk with the added weight of a backpack on your back.

If the idea intrigues you, you might want to check out the GORUCK challenges. These team-based backpacking events are a bit like obstacle course races, but you have to start and finish with your entire team. Click through to learn more about these special events. 

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tirc83/Getty Images/E+ Collection

Geocaching is like hiking... but with a treasure to find. There are millions of geocachers world wide, so why not get involved the next time you head outside.

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Run and Strength Train

Getty Images/Martin Novak

If you're an avid runner, mix up your standard routine with a combined running and strength training session. It doesn't take much longer than your typical routine, and the added strength work can help make you a more efficient, stronger runner. 

Click through to check out a sample workout routine. 

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Nature Workout

Outdoor Gym-Tree L-Sit
Jeffrey Crease

Whether you're camping, hiking, or simply taking a jaunt through your neighborhood nature park, don't overlook the opportunity to turn Mother Earth's natural features into your own personal gym. You can use a fallen log as a bench, a tree stump as a plyo box, and rocks as weights. 

If you need more ideas, click through for a full-body workout routine.

City Workout

Chin Ups
Mark Kuroda/Kuroda Studios

Even if you don't have Mother Nature at your beck and call, the concrete jungle provides unending options for physical exertion. Use street posts as pull-up bars, park benches as steps, and the painted lines in parking lots as agility markers. 

For more ideas and a full workout routine, click through to the full article. 

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River Tracing and Canyoneering

River Tracing, Water
Danielle Press

Sure, hiking up a mountain is challenging, but if you're looking for your next big thrill, try your hand at river tracing, a sport also known as canyoneering. During a river trace, you'll hike over and through a water way


 over the course of several hours or several days. Learn more about this combined physical and spiritual experience, and how to find a qualified guide, by clicking through to the full article.

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Canoeing or Kayaking

Kayaking National Parks
Getty Images/Blend Images/Roberto Westbrook

During the long, warm days of spring, summer and even fall, nothing's more relaxing than spending a day floating atop the water. But don't mistake "relaxing" for easy. Canoeing and kayaking, particularly in fast currents or choppy waters, are incredibly taxing activities that offer an added upper-body challenge. 

Click through to learn about some of the best canoeing and kayaking locations in the national parks. 

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National Park Service

If you like wakeboarding and snowboarding, sandboarding's your next big adventure. The sport is very similar to other board sports but requires a special board that you can usually rent from vendors near popular sand dunes. Also, the workout is much harder because unlike ski resorts that offer lifts to take you to the top of the mountain, most sand dunes don't have the same amenities. This means you have to trek up the hill on your own two feet after boarding down the slope. 

Learn which national parks allow sandboarding by clicking through to the full article. 

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to combine the balance challenge of tightrope walking with the bounciness of a trampoline, then you should try slacklining. These narrow nylon strips of material are usually suspended between two trees or poles, then used as bouncy tightropes by daring fitness enthusiasts. 

Learn more about the fitness benefits of slacklining by clicking through to the full article. 

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