Outdoor Exercise Tips to Help You Get Moving This Summer

May 24, 2024 | Health & Safety

Beyond aiding in weight loss, regular exercise can boost your mood and reduce your risk of chronic disease. As the weather starts to warm up, it’s the perfect time to take your exercise regimen out of the gym and soak up some vitamin D. This article highlights the benefits of training outdoors, common exercises and safety tips for getting started with an outdoor fitness regimen.

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

While exercise of any kind may enhance your physical and mental well-being, outdoor exercise, in particular, can provide additional benefits you may not have thought of. Here’s what working out in nature can do for you:

Alleviates negative feelings

Sunlight naturally increases serotonin, which can lower anxiety levels, reduce anger and keep depression symptoms at bay.

Enhances immune function

Spending time outdoors subjects you to nature, which can strengthen your immune system. Exposure to nondangerous microorganisms can also help your body prepare for more severe infections, lowering your risk of falling ill.

Sharpens your mind

Exercise in natural settings has been shown to enhance cognitive function, sharpening your focus, creativity and problem-solving skills. Nature also has a calming effect that can help you recover from mental fatigue.

Improves sleep quality

Direct sunlight can regulate your body’s internal clock, potentially enabling you to fall asleep more quickly at night. Exercising outdoors can also enhance the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Strengthens social bonds

Outdoor exercise provides opportunities for social interaction. Whether it’s a hike with friends, a family bike ride or an outdoor fitness class, exercising together bolsters your social connections and may improve your sense of belonging.

Outdoor Exercise Ideas

Here are some exercises that you can do outdoors without any special equipment:

Walking and hiking are some of the most simple and effective outdoor exercises. They’re often free, easy on your joints and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Try to get in at least an hour of walking every week to boost your overall well-being.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates between short bursts of high-intensity activity and periods of lower-intensity recovery. These workouts are great for boosting metabolism, improving cardiovascular endurance and building strength. As an added benefit, these workouts can be performed almost anywhere.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise that can strengthen leg muscles and improve your overall balance and coordination. Plus, this eco-friendly workout is easy to weave into your daily routine, whether as a fun weekend activity or a cool way to commute.

Swimming is a whole-body workout that provides loads of health and mental benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels, including pregnant women and those with physical disabilities. Not only does swimming keep your heart healthy, but it can also burn calories, build muscle, and improve anxiety and depression symptoms.

Recreational sports (e.g., basketball, golf, tennis) target multiple muscle groups and release those feel-good endorphins that reduce stress and relieve pain. In addition to its many health benefits, sports may build self-esteem and can improve your focus and concentration.

Don’t forget to rest between exercises and cool down after completing your workout. To keep exercise fun and interesting, switch up your workout routine every now and then and challenge your body in diverse ways. The beauty of outdoor exercise is that the options are endless and can be tailored to your interests and fitness level.

Outdoor Exercise Safety Tips

Before heading outdoors, ensure you set yourself up for a successful and safe workout. Consider these tips to ensure that you remain safe during outdoor workouts:

Check the weather forecast to ensure conditions are safe for outdoor exercise. Avoid working out in extreme heat or cold and during severe weather like thunderstorms.

Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and supportive shoes. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothes allow air to circulate and keep you cool. Reflective clothing can also help keep you safe and visible, especially around dawn and dusk.

Bring a water bottle and take regular sips to stay hydrated—whether you’re thirsty or not. Don’t forget to replenish your electrolytes after a workout by choosing a sports drink or foods like chia seeds, kale, coconut or fruits and vegetables.

Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Opt for early mornings or late evenings when temperatures are cooler.

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after sweating or swimming. A wide-brimmed hat can also protect your face from the sun.

Use insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs. Wear long sleeves and pants in areas with dense vegetation, and avoid wearing strong fragrances that can attract insects.

Do warm-up exercises (e.g., light jogging, stretches or jumping jacks) to activate your central nervous system and get your blood flowing. This may also reduce your risk of injury.

Inform a trusted friend or family member about your plans and when they can expect you back if you’re exercising alone.

Bring your phone and ensure it has enough charge to allow you to call for assistance if you get lost on a trail, suddenly feel unwell or get injured.

Carry some form of identification, such as an ID bracelet or a card with your name, emergency contact information and any relevant medical details. This can be crucial in case of an accident or medical emergency.

Avoid blasting music or podcasts on your earphones. This helps ensure you’re able to hear oncoming cars, people and other potential hazards.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling during exercise. Stop and rest if you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous. Pushing through discomfort can lead to injury or heat-related illness.


Outdoor exercise is an essential addition to any fitness routine. Working out in green spaces may not only make your workout more enjoyable but also help you relax and feel more socially connected. Whether you’re at a park, a trail or your neighborhood streets, incorporating outdoor workouts into your regimen is a step toward a holistic approach to your fitness and overall wellness.

Always speak with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.

© 2024 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Need Help Finding Time to Get Outdoors?

If you’re a parent that would love to get out more, but your child care responsibilities take up all your time, then hiring a caregiver from A New England Nanny can give you back that time! Our professional, reliable, thoroughly screened nannies and babysitters can care for your loved ones while you get some much needed “me time.”

Or if your kids need to get outside but you don’t have the time, then our caregivers can take them to the park, on a hike, or anywhere else to ensure they get some healthy fresh air.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 to request one of our amazing caregivers, and to get help with babysitting, after-school care, housekeeping, and even pet sitting!



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