Outdoor exercise: 4 ways to ditch the gym

A person hiking on a grassy surface in the mountains.

You don’t always need a gym with a full set of weights to get the workout your body needs. Summer is a great time to take your exercise routine outside to get moving in some creative ways. Here are several ideas for for outdoor exercise. You’re sure to find one that works for you!

Take a hike

For a lot of people, their love for walking and tracking their daily mileage has stepped up a notch into an affinity for hiking. Heading out on a trail – whether it’s through the woods, along a beach dune or even in your local park – is a great workout for your legs and core.

You can change it up and find routes with hills for some added intensity and add hiking poles for more stability and some extra arm exercise.

How to prepare for a hike

  • Research your chosen trail to make sure you know what you’ll encounter.
  • Choose comfortable, supportive athletic shoes or day hikers.
  • Wear lightweight clothing in layers to accommodate weather.
  • Apply sunscreen to any exposed areas and pack it to reapply. Bug spray might be good, too.
  • And don’t forget to hydrate. Pack a drink designed for hydration, like XS™ CocoWater Hydration Drink Mix . It helps replenish electrolytes your body loses as you exercise and delivers antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.

A person rides a bike at dusk on a road with a bridge in the background.

Just like riding a bike

One of the recent exercise trends has been the bicycle boom, which saw a surge in 2020 with a 62% increase in the number of bikes sold in the U.S. People who had not pedaled in years were either buying new rides or digging their old bikes out of the garage, getting them tuned up and reacquainting themselves with the sport.

Biking is a great workout. it can burn up to 400 calories an hour and ranks high as a cardio exercise. And the warmer weather is a great reason to log miles outside in the fresh air rather than in a spin class or on a stationary bike in your basement.

Many people are also joining riding groups as newer cyclists find they like the social aspect of riding as part of a local club.

Biking tips for beginners

  • Cycling newbies will want to make sure to have a bike that’s properly fitted to their size. If you don’t, your body will likely be complaining after long rides.
  • Wear comfortable, tight-fitting clothing that won’t chafe or be in danger of getting caught in your gears. (Don’t forget a helmet!)
  • Wear athletic shoes that feel good to pedal in, or, for some road bikes, specially designed clip-in shoes to prevent your feet from slipping off.
  • Pack snacks: Cycling is hard work. In addition to water, make sure to pack some convenient, nutrient-filled snacks like fruit or sports bars. XS Energy Bars come in different flavors, and all have at least 9 grams of protein. They’ll give you fuel to keep on pedaling.

Two people kayaking on a lake.

Kayaking: Up a creek with a paddle

Kayaks have been the clear favorite of people who want to take their workouts onto the water. Using your arm and core muscles to paddle yourself in a lake or river is a solid workout.

People new to the sport can rent kayaks by the hour from a local outfitter. Those who purchase them typically buy a carrier for their car, which is about as easy to use as a bike rack.

Kayaking tips

  • If you’re buying a kayak, make sure it fits your body dimensions and it’s comfortable to sit in. Again, your body will let you know after a while if it’s the wrong size.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are a must on the water.
  • Have a flotation device either on you or in the kayak.
  • Being on the water doesn’t mean you don’t have to hydrate. Pack a water bottle and consider an add-in like an XS Sports Twist Tube. Not only does it add a refreshing flavor and boost hydration, it has a unique combination of B vitamins and selenium to add nutrients when you’re on the go.

People take a break after a group run outside.

Group fitness classes: Share the pain

Group exercise classes held outside are becoming increasingly popular. Check your local event listings for outdoor classes in your area. These could include sunrise yoga at a beach, Pilates at the park, a rooftop barre class or a weekend fun run in your town.

Not seeing anything that piques your interest? Make your own group class by inviting some friends to meet you for your newfound love of hiking, biking or kayaking. Just remember the essentials: layers, sun protection, appropriate gear, fuel and hydration. Now get outside!

For more information on any of the products mentioned here, click the links below. And for more tips on healthy living, check out other blogs at Amway Connections.

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