Fitness centers around the United States in total have reported more than 60 million active gym memberships. That’s a lot of people hitting the gym! But you don’t necessarily need a gym membership in order to get your pump on. Nature can be your gym! Here are 10 ways to make nature your gym.
Hiking is an all around great exercise, and it’s one that nearly anyone at any level of physical fitness can do. Hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves blood pressure and balances out your blood sugar, builds bone density, and increases muscle strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, lower legs, and core. Hiking in nature has a therapeutic effect as well, reducing stress and helping you sleep better at night.
Whether you’re bouldering, ice climbing, trad climbing, or any other kind of climbing, there are tons of health benefits. It is truly a total body workout with a huge calorie burn, about the same as running an 8 minute mile. Climbing is also a great activity for younger children, provided that safety precautions have been taken. Not only is climbing a great physical activity, but it’s also great for the mind. Climbing involves a lot of problem solving, which serves as a mental exercise too.
Running in general is a good activity, but finding a nature trail to run has some key benefits. Trail running strengthens the legs, hips, and improves bone density. Running on trails is easier on your joints than running on pavement too, making it a bit better if you are a bit heavier or have joint issues. If your trail involves downhill running, you’ll take advantage of eccentric loading of the leg muscles, which will help build quad strength.
Perhaps one of the most important things about skiing is how much fun it is! It definitely boosts your mood. Along with that, skiing increases bone and muscle strength, improves your core strength and balance, promotes good sleep, and improves your flexibility. An unsung benefit of skiing is an improvement in your proprioception, which is your perception of the position and movements of your body.
Snowshoeing is one of the best winter activities for fat burning, so if you’re looking to drop a few pounds, this is an activity you should try! Snowshoeing utilizes large muscle groups in the legs, back, and core and can easily help you burn 1,000 calories per hour, depending on your age, weight, and sex.
If you’re wanting to increase your upper body and back strength, surfing is the activity for you! The paddling involved with surfing increases shoulder and back strength, and standing on the board improves core and leg strength. It’s also a great cardiovascular activity and a great way to enjoy the world’s oceans.
Mountain biking has many of the same health benefits as biking in town or in a gym. Mountain biking improves your heart health, your balance and coordination, and is a lower impact exercise, making it easier on your joints. Mountain biking is also known for decreasing stress levels and helping you sleep better at night.
Many yoga classes take place indoors, but you can do yoga anywhere! Find a nice, quiet place in the woods or a nearby park for some yoga. Some of the benefits of yoga are healthy weight maintenance, increased flexibility, stronger muscles, reduced chance of athletic injury, and yoga is known to help reduce stress and anxiety too!
Swimming has numerous benefits for your health. Swimming keeps your heart rate up but is very low impact, making it an ideal exercise if you have joint issues. Swimming builds your endurance, your muscle strength, and your cardiovascular fitness and is a good exercise for maintaining a healthy weight.
Slacklining is a full body workout that involves using your lower body, core, and upper body to balance yourself on a slackline. This exercise improves your posture, balance, and core strength. It’s also said to sharpen your focus, memory, and is a meditative experience. Slacklining is especially cool because of the exposure to trees. The line is typically held up by two trees near one another.