Make cardio Fun! 7 Outdoor activities to stay fit

Cardio training is a term that we’ve all heard, but what is it exactly? Well, just about every exercise is cardio exercise. Anything that makes your heart go faster can be considered cardio. Even looking at someone you like is a form of cardio, but it’s not the most effective method by a longshot.

True cardio workouts are those that really test the limits of your heart in a safe and productive manner. If your heart rate shoots up to the point that you barely feel it, that’s when you know you’re getting it right.

Hitting the gym and running or riding a stationary bicycle are forms of cardio, but they get dull rather quickly. To get the most out of your exercises, you should consider working out outside. So, what types of workouts are best in the outdoors?

1. Swimming

If getting fit doesn’t motivate you enough, the scalding sun might give you the push you need to start swimming. This aquatic activity has a host of benefits that you simply can’t disregard. Not only do you get the workout of your life, but you also don't really feel it as much as you would any other activity.

The comfort of floating in water lets you have the occasional rest, while the water itself cools you down when you overheat. It's the perfect activity that combines fun and a cardio workout that won’t disappoint!

Surprisingly, swimming is one of the few activities that combine both muscle building and cardio exercises. It’s an all body exercise in every sense of the word. You get a toned body to die for while your heart also gets its fair share of quality exercise.

The best part is that you don’t need any kind of specific training regime or strategy. You can just hop in and your body will do the rest. If certain health issues such as arthritis or other musculoskeletal problems prevent you from doing other types of exercises, swimming is the ideal solution to your workout needs.

If you really want to get serious and partake in this wonderful outdoor activity, you can get yourself a membership at your local pool. You can even get to know a couple of swimming routines online to help you maximize your workout. Specific muscle groups can be worked out or you can maximize the cardio workout by alternating different types of stroke in the water.

2. Fast walking

Walking is a great and comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors while also getting your blood pumping slightly. One of the many benefits of walking include the fact that you don’t put a lot of pressure on your joints and your mind is free to wander while you’re making your way through the park of your choice.


However, some people might want a little more spice in their step when they go out for a walk. If you want to get more out of your walking routine with less time spent, you can always take up fast walking.

It’s an activity that seems silly at first glance, but you would be remiss if you didn’t at least try to partake in it. Surprisingly, it’s a very effective way to get your heart going. It’s very similar to running in one way, you just don’t use your knees as much as you usually would.

The lack of spring in your step allows your tendons to relax a lot more than they would if you decided to go for a run.

Fast walking isn’t considered a sport for no reason. There are ways to maximize your fast walking efficiency and increase the workout you get out of it. The more you practice, the more you’ll realize how easy and effective it is.

3. Yoga

From its humble beginnings in India, Yoga has slowly spread across the globe and become a wonderful addition to the arsenal of exercise regimes that people have available today. Today, there’s a place to practice sessions in just about every city in the world. What makes this activity so popular among every age group?

Or starters, it’s a great workout for your whole body. At first glance, it might seem like a boring and slow exercise that only serves to increase your flexibility, but those that have tried it out know that there’s a lot more to it.

Steady and slow movements are a lot more difficult to pull off than quick and sudden ones. Think of how bodybuilders lift their weights. They pull them rather quickly in order to make it easier to lift bigger weights.

Moving slowly puts the true strength of your muscles to the test. The relaxation from deep breathing exercises lets your heart do all the work in the calmest and most comfortable way.

Imagine an exercise for your heart that is so relaxing that it could even put you to sleep if you don’t pay attention. Yoga provides a bunch of fitness benefits and you also get all of your muscles relaxed to boot.

Best of all, you’re able to do it outside without issue. If you don’t want to seem weird for doing Yoga on your own in the park, there are probably lots of groups that have sessions outside whenever the weather is favorable. Keep that in mind if you think about signing up.

4. Mountain climbing

If you want to get a taste of nature while you’re working out in the great outdoors, mountain climbing might be more up your alley. It can really get your adrenaline pumping.

Climbing a mountain isn’t just something that you use as a workout, it also feels like somewhat of an accomplishment. You get to climb a tall rock that basically challenged you from afar, just by being tall.

Very few people decide to partake in this sport, simply because they think it’s dangerous. You can rest assured that if you use the right kind of equipment, mountain climbing is as safe as riding a stationary bike in your own home.

Obviously, that kind of depends on the mountain. If you join groups that like to climb mountains in their free time, you get the added benefit of support from people in case something goes wrong.

If you’re all tethered together, you don’t have to worry about slipping up much. Out of all the satisfying outdoor activities, getting to the top of a small amount might just top the list.

5. Jump rope

The classic activity of jump rope has become a staple of cardio exercises. These tiny movements give you the workout of a lifetime while also making you feel like you’re training in a Rocky montage. Who would have thought that doing tiny jumps over a piece of string could end up being so effective at keeping you fit?

Those who haven't tried jump rope might note that it's pretty difficult when you start out. There's a bit of technique involved, so you shouldn't be discouraged from trying.

The right way to jump is something that you eventually figure out once you've had a few jumps here and there. You'll be able to get the hang of it after a few tries and after that, it's all smooth sailing. A few sessions later, you'll forget the times that you tripped on it while practicing.

Jump rope does give you a hell of a workout. You don’t even notice the slow transition from being comfortable to being exhausted simply because every new jump comes in such quick succession.

There’s a bit of a useful paradox when you work out this way. Getting tired forces you to slow down, even though slowing down your jumps actually makes it more difficult. This allows your muscles to unwind in a way while also giving you a bit of a workout boost at the same time.

6. Cycling

It's one of the most iconic outdoor workouts and there are quite a few reasons for it. It's a really effective exercise that gives your heart a real run for its money. You’re technically sitting down, but you’re also giving your legs a proper workout, what could be better than that? Well, cycling also gives you a bunch of other reasons to like it.

Cycling is a very versatile workout. You can choose the difficulty by adjusting your bike’s speed or the slope at which you decide to cycle. Whenever you feel tired, you can simply stop and enjoy the view or have a swig from one of your cycling water bottles.

That’s another great benefit of a bicycle, it can be used to transport a few things here and there. Some useful things to bring with you include a towel to wipe the sweat from your brows and a snack or two to give you some much-needed energy. When you ride your bicycle, you can cover some very large distances so a boost of energy would be recommended somewhere along the way.

Cycling gives you the best of both worlds. You get to cross large distances and you get the benefits of a workout. This is probably why a lot of people have chosen to forego other vehicles in favor of cycling.

Obviously, not everyone can afford to replace their two-hour commute with a five-hour bicycle ride, but those who can are very grateful for the opportunity. Whenever you want to head to town, why bother with traffic jams?

You can get a very light cardio workout and get there a lot faster than you would by car. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about parking or paying for gas. The convenience of cycling plays a big part.

7. Rollerblading

If you want to relive your early teens while doing some cardio along the way, rollerblading might just be the workout for you. Hardly anyone remembers rollerblading as a viable exercise, considering the fact that it seems a little bit too easy. How could it possibly be effective when it’s not exactly a hardcore workout?

You can rest easy knowing that riding those rollerblades is very effective at keeping your heart rate up. Those slight upward and downward movements that you make with your legs carry a lot of weight and momentum.

It’s just that you hardly notice while speeding by on those wheels. It’s also kind of an adrenaline rush. You’re trying your best to focus on keeping steady and gliding in the smoothest possible way. This effort is translated into work by your leg muscles, so you’re also getting a bit of muscle down there.

Much like cycling, rollerblades let you traverse some distances if you want to get somewhere fast. However, it’s a bit less comfortable than a bicycle and you don’t reach enormous speeds. Even if you did, it’s a lot riskier than taking the trip on a bike that has very powerful brakes. On the other hand, you can always slap on some knee pads and a good helmet and you’re practically set to go.

Conclusion

Whatever kind of cardio you pick, you can rest easy knowing that you can do it while enjoying the fresh air and warm sun without sacrificing efficiency. People enjoy cardio because it relaxes them and gives them a workout worth doing. With some of these exercises, you also get some added benefits, so consider them.

Guest post by Lena Hemsworth

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