Blog Fitness Workouts 10 Outdoor Exercises To Do With or Without Equipment

10 Outdoor Exercises To Do With or Without Equipment

Swapping your usual gym workout for an exciting new challenge can be achieved as easily as stepping outside into the great outdoors. I’m a firm believer in the transformative power nature can have on our physical and mental well-being. 

Whether you find yourself nestled between towering trees in a forest, next to a tranquil lake, or beneath the vast expanse of the open sky, there’s no better setting in which to break a sweat and reinvigorate your senses. 

The beauty of outdoor exercises is their versatility. They can be tailored to your fitness level and require little to no specialist equipment. From bodyweight exercises that test strength and endurance to plyometric workouts that get your heart racing, there are almost endless possibilities. 

Why Is Outdoor Exercise Better?

Outdoor exercise, which is also sometimes called “green exercise”, offers several unique benefits compared to indoor workouts, including the following:

Improved Mental Health

Studies have found that spending time in nature reduces stress and depression. The combination of fresh air, sunlight, and natural scenery helps stimulate feelings of relaxation and well-being (1).

Vitamin D Exposure

When exercising outdoors, you’re exposed to sunlight, a natural source of vitamin D. This essential nutrient plays an important role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation (2).

Varied Terrain

Outdoor environments provide varied and unpredictable terrain, which makes your workouts more challenging and engaging. This variability enhances your balance, coordination, and agility.


Outdoor workouts often require little to no equipment, which makes them an incredibly cost-effective option. You can engage in running, cycling, walking, or bodyweight exercises without the need for a gym membership.

Greater Intensity

Research has suggested that people often exercise at a higher intensity when working out outdoors (1). This may be due to the stimulating environment or the cooling effect of the wind, which makes exercise feel less strenuous.

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Opportunity for Social Interaction

Outdoor exercises such as group hikes, runs, or fitness classes provide an opportunity for social interaction, which can further improve your mood and increase your motivation.

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What Is an Example of an Outdoor Exercise?

Outdoor exercise includes any physical activity that can be performed outdoors. This includes activities such as running, walking, cycling, hiking, swimming, and even soccer, tennis, and golf

It also includes outdoor fitness classes, bodyweight exercises performed in a park, and activities such as gardening or yard work. Essentially, if it gets your body moving and it’s performed outside, then it counts as outdoor exercise.

outdoor exercises  

What Is The Best Outdoor Sport for Fitness?

Determining the best outdoor sport for fitness can be quite a subjective matter, as it is dependent on the preferences, goals, and physical abilities of an individual. However, here are some examples:


Running is one of the most accessible and effective forms of exercise. It improves cardiovascular health, strengthens the lower body, burns calories, and helps with weight management. 

It also enhances mental well-being as it provides a sense of accomplishment by releasing endorphins, which is known as “runner’s high”. In addition, you can adjust your pace or distance to suit your fitness level. As far as outdoor exercises without equipment go, it doesn’t get much better than going for a good run.

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Whether you’re road biking, mountain biking, or commuting to work on a bike path, cycling is an effective and enjoyable outdoor exercise. It doesn’t put any undue strain on your joints (as running does), it builds endurance and strength in the lower-body muscles and can burn anywhere between 400 and 1,000 calories per hour.


For those who are looking for a less intense form of outdoor exercise, hiking is the ideal option. It’s low impact and offers physical benefits that include improved balance, flexibility, coordination, and agility. It also requires minimal equipment if choosing easy hikes and can be done at any pace or level of difficulty. However, you should make sure to wear the proper footwear and always take a map with you.


Swimming works out the entire body and builds strength, endurance, and flexibility. As it’s a non-weight-bearing activity, it is ideal for people with joint issues or injuries. It also provides a calming, meditative effect, which helps to reduce stress. 

It’s also one of the top outdoor exercise ideas for seniors and those with special needs, as it’s generally the most accessible form of low-impact exercise.


Soccer provides a full-body workout and improves cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, and coordination. It’s also a team sport, so it has a social element that can serve to enhance enjoyment and motivation.


Tennis is a high-intensity sport requiring speed, agility, balance, and hand-eye coordination. It provides a great aerobic workout while improving bone health and reflexes.

Read more: Thigh Workout Guide: 7 Effective Exercises for Building Leg Strength


Outdoor rowing is a total body workout that builds strength and endurance. It is particularly effective for working the core and upper body, which are areas that are often neglected in other sports. It’s also a great calorie-burning activity.

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Although it is often seen as a leisure sport, golf can provide an excellent workout with many benefits for both the body and mind. It helps improve balance, posture, and flexibility while also providing a relaxing way of enjoying the outdoors.


This water sport offers a complete body workout, focusing in particular on core strength and balance. It’s also an effective means for improving cardiovascular fitness and flexibility while you enjoy the tranquility of the water.

Beach Volleyball

A fun and competitive sport, beach volleyball provides an excellent full-body workout that targets the arms, legs, and core. It helps improve agility, coordination, and speed. The sandy terrain also adds an extra challenge as it requires more effort than playing volleyball on a hard court.

outdoor exercises 

What To Consider When Choosing Outdoor Exercise

By considering the following factors, you can choose an outdoor exercise that suits your needs, preferences, and lifestyle, which makes it easier to maintain a regular exercise routine:

Personal Fitness Goals

What do you aim to achieve with your outdoor exercise? If you’re looking to improve cardiovascular health, activities such as running, cycling, or swimming may be suitable. If building strength is your goal, you should consider exercises such as outdoor boot camp workouts or sports such as rowing or rock climbing.


Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. You’re more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you actually enjoy what you are doing. You should try out different exercises to find one that you love doing. This can be anything from hiking in nature to joining a local soccer team.

Fitness Level

Your current fitness level is an important factor that must be considered. If you’re just starting out, lower-intensity activities such as walking or gentle yoga may be appropriate. As your fitness improves, more challenging activities can gradually be introduced.

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You should consider the resources and spaces that are available to you. If you live near the beach, water sports or beach running could be great options, or if you have a park nearby, this could be a great place for running, cycling, or outdoor fitness classes.

Time Availability

How much time do you have to devote to exercise? Some activities, such as hiking or team sports, can take several hours, whereas others, such as running or circuit workouts, can be done in under an hour. It’s important to choose an activity that fits within your schedule.


It’s essential to ensure that your chosen activity is safe. This includes considering factors such as the safety of the area where you’ll be exercising, the time of day, weather conditions, and whether the activity is suitable for your health status and fitness level.

Equipment Needed

Some outdoor exercises require specific equipment, such as a bike for cycling or a mat for outdoor yoga. You should decide whether you’re willing and able to invest in the necessary equipment.

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Are There Downsides to Outdoor Exercise?

Weather Conditions

The biggest downside to outdoor exercise is undoubtedly the weather. Extreme heat can cause dehydration and heatstroke, while cold weather can increase the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Rain, snow, or windy conditions can also make outdoor exercise unsafe or unpleasant.

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Air Quality

In certain areas, air pollution is a concern for outdoor exercisers. Poor air quality can result in respiratory problems, particularly for those who have asthma or other lung conditions. Similarly, high pollen counts can trigger allergies in some people.

Safety Risks

Depending on where you’re exercising, there may be safety risks such as traffic, uneven terrain, or poorly lit areas. There is also the potential risk of encountering wild animals if you exercise in more remote areas.

Lack of Facilities

Unlike a gym, outdoor settings don’t generally have facilities such as restrooms, water fountains, or lockers for your belongings. The lack of amenities can sometimes be inconvenient.

Limited Exercise Options

While there are many different exercises that can be performed outdoors, certain types of workouts may be more difficult to perform outside of a gym. For example, weightlifting requires equipment that isn’t typically available outdoors.

Sun Exposure

While moderate sun exposure is beneficial for vitamin D synthesis, too much sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. It is important to protect your skin with sunscreen, clothing, and hats.

Despite these potential downsides, many people find the benefits of outdoor exercise, including the enjoyment of nature, varied scenery, and fresh air, to outweigh the negatives.

Read more: 10 Best Glute Exercises To Add To Your Routine and Why

outdoor exercises  


  • What are the benefits of exercising outdoors?

Exercising outdoors has numerous benefits, such as improving mental and physical health. It can help reduce stress and anxiety levels while providing an enjoyable way to stay active. Outdoor activities including running or cycling are often more motivating than indoor exercises due to the change of scenery, fresh air, and connection with nature.

  • What are the five best outdoor activities?

There are countless outdoor activities you can engage in. The five most popular outdoor exercise forms are walking, running, cycling, paddleboarding, and beach volleyball. Depending on your fitness goals and preferences, you may also consider activities such as rock climbing, rowing, yoga in nature, or team sports such as soccer or frisbee.

  • What are the disadvantages of outdoor exercise?

The main disadvantages of outdoor exercise include the weather and air quality, in addition to safety risks such as traffic or wild animals. In addition, depending on where you live, there may be limited facilities for exercising outdoors, and certain types of workout can prove to be more difficult in an outdoor setting.

The Bottom Line

Outdoor exercise can be a fun and enjoyable way of staying active. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, it’s likely that there’s an outdoor exercise that suits your fitness goals and preferences. By considering the weather, air quality, safety risks, and other factors, you can make sure your outdoor activities are as safe and enjoyable as possible.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all (2013,
  2. Vitamin D (2022,
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I love this app! I love that it has so many different workouts that I can choose from with all different durations that I can choose from in order to achieve my goals. I recommend this app to everyone and anyone.

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The app is easy to use but effective and the workouts are great! You will feel it and see results, the goal is to get 1% better everyday!!!

Exercises are simple but effective

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All the exercises were manageable and were effective. It's amazing how stretching is key way to exercise.