Want to Improve Your Health? 8 Outdoor Activities

Do you feel like the stress of daily life is becoming a little too much for you to handle? With the pressure feeling like it’s constantly building, the need to get out and improve your health1 – both physical and mental – becomes unavoidable. So, what can you do to tackle this situation head-on?

Over the years plenty of studies have been conducted that indicate the best thing for you to do for your overall health is to pick up an outdoor activity. Being in the outdoors does wonders for your mental health and taking up a physically oriented activity can improve your physical health in a really enjoyable way. Here are our top picks of outdoor activities that’ll get your blood pumping and leave you feeling zen.

1. Kayaking

Kayaking is jam-packed with enjoyment and is a great way to exercise. It is a really great activity for your heart, brain, and body. It mainly targets your arms, back, and core, and although it doesn’t feel as intense as a gym workout, you’ll find you have much the same result in the same time frame, if not better. This is because you are distracted and observing your surroundings while kayaking, rather than focusing on gym and gym surroundings. It becomes an activity that gives you enjoyment rather than a task that has to be done in a metallic environment2. The best part is that you don’t have to enjoy it alone.

With an inflatable 2 person kayak, you can explore the water with a friend. This is fantastic for bigger water expanses, and you can top it off with a picnic on the bank somewhere downstream. You can even go out to sea and enjoy a close encounter with a dolphin or two. Please practice the necessary safety precautions. Don’t go out on rough waters and don’t attempt to paddle somewhere with a super strong current before you are strong enough to do so. This is where taking a friend becomes a necessity rather than a plus.

2. SUP Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP for short, has gained popularity in recent years. There are a variety of different boards for you to choose from, with some fairing better in certain waters than others. SUP offers you a full-body workout – from head to toes – and is another low-intensity way to get in shape. It is perfect for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes and can be done on anything from a small waterway through a city, to the ocean.

3. Yoga

Yoga has become a buzzword in many ways and with so many different versions on offer, it’s easy to understand why so many people try it. Aside from the obvious health benefits of stretching3 and controlling your muscle movements4 (really making you sweat), you could join a puppy yoga class, hot yoga, SUP yoga, and the list goes on. People have tried to reinvent it in such a way as to make it desirable and enjoyable to everyone. If you don’t like the idea of joining a class, there are plenty of instructional videos online, but we recommend you take this outdoors and do your yoga in your garden, or on your balcony to get in that free air while working it. It relieves stress, anxiety, body flexibility, muscle strength, and more. Plus it’s really gentle on your knees.  

4. Running

If your knees are not your concern, then take up running or jogging. This is by far one of the oldest forms of cardio. If you don’t like the idea of gentle exercise5 because you don’t feel like you’ve worked out then running is definitely more up our alley. This is a really inexpensive way to exercise on a daily basis and you set the paces. The best part is seeing how you improve and how you are able to run further without getting tired.

If you don’t enjoy running on the tar, why not give trail running a go. It is more dynamic and although it can be a more intense workout, some people report feeling less out of breath, tired, and bored while doing it. Running through an open forest is exhilarating and something you should definitely give a go. Make sure to get some good shoes. This is applicable for any type of running. Your shoes need to match the terrain.

5. Hiking

Hiking is running’s a close cousin. It can be a low-intensity and a breath-taking way to improve your health. Taking in the natural beauty around you can boost your mental health, too. You can do this alone, but it is definitely something that can be done as a group, or family activity.

6. Mountain Climbing

If you are looking for a high-intensity, blood-pumping, adrenaline-spiking outdoor activity, Mountain climbing is where it’s at. We recommend that you start by joining a local club. This way you’ll have access to tons of people already comfortable within the mountain climbing community and you’ll have access to great advice. Regular climbing improves your muscle strength and endurance. If you’re looking for an intense full-body workout definitely be sure to look for the closest mountain climbing community and get climbing.

7. Swimming

Swimming is another full-body workout that will leave you exhausted. This low-impact workout packs quite a punch and its high intensity makes it another one that is great for your heart health. Unlike mountain climbing, your body is less at risk of harm. You can’t fall, scrape yourself, etc, but you also make use of every muscle. Water is great for people who suffer from stiff joints, have sore knees, are recovering from an injury, or are unable to do high-impact exercises.

8. Cycling

Cycling is another exercise that is considered relatively low impact. It doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints in the way that running does, and like running it can be done anywhere on any terrain. It also has significant ramifications for your wallet. With the increase in gas prices, cycling to work could really relieve your wallet.

Outdoor activities are a great way to improve your overall well-being. It is important that you pay attention to your health and that you find something that you love doing outdoors to keep your body active and healthy.

  1. Gregory, Christian A., and Partha Deb. “Does SNAP improve your health?.” Food Policy 50 (2015): 11-19. ↩︎
  2. Qing, Xianming, and Zhi Ning Chen. “Proximity effects of metallic environments on high frequency RFID reader antenna: Study and applications.” IEEE transactions on Antennas and Propagation 55.11 (2007): 3105-3111. ↩︎
  3. Deshmukh, V. “Health Benefits of Stretching.” Aayushi International Interdisciplinary Research Journal 6.5 (2019): 123-126. ↩︎
  4. Todorov, Emanuel. “Direct cortical control of muscle activation in voluntary arm movements: a model.” Nature neuroscience 3.4 (2000): 391-398. ↩︎
  5. St⊘ len, Kristi Anne. “The gentle exercise of male power in rural Argentina.” Identities Global Studies in Culture and Power 2.4 (1996): 385-406. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Icy Health Editorial Team

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