10 Outdoor Workout Ideas To Get You In-Shape Without a Gym Membership

Getting In Shape For Free: Outdoor Fitness and Outdoor Exercise Ideas

Getting in a good workout can be a challenge sometimes. With the rising costs of gym and fitness center memberships and the rapid pace of daily life, it’s a challenge to find the time and extra money to put yourself first. While we can all do simple things in the office and at home – like opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalators or remembering to stand every chance we get – carving out dedicated portions of time to get your cardio in is key to living a happier and healthier life.

We compiled a list of outdoor workout ideas that you can take advantage of for free. With these outdoor exercise ideas, you can get all the perks of a gym membership simply by using mother nature’s gym. (Was that too cheesy? Oh, well.) Here are our picks for top outdoor fitness tips!


Why strength training? If the goal is to lose weight then we should only focus on cardio, right? Wrong. Research shows that strength training and building muscle mass raises our metabolism rate which in turn raises the rate our body naturally burns fat and calories. Therefore, resistance training (or working with weights and building lean muscle mass) is key to losing weight. This doesn’t mean you have to invest in equipment, however. Instead, use your own body to your advantage!

1. Park Bench Dips

Park bench dips work your triceps, forearms, and shoulders all at once! This is a great outdoor exercise routine for toning your arms.

2. Park Bench Push-Ups

Park bench push-ups can work out and strengthen different parts of your body including your abs, triceps, and deltoids (upper shoulders).

3. Lunges

Lunges really work out your legs and buttocks. Adding weights can really build the effectiveness of your outdoor workouts. If you can, add weights to a series of outdoor lunges, and you can bet you’ll really start to really feel the burn. Resistance bands are another light and easy-to-use method for increasing resistance!

4. Step-Ups

Step-ups can be done anywhere if you have a sturdy platform to work out on. Step-ups build up the upper hamstrings and butt – so they are a great component to add to your outdoor exercise routine.

5. Stair Climbs

Stair climbs provide the perfect balance of cardio and strength training! While it’s probably better defined as cardio, perhaps seeing it as an effective, free, and accessible form of strength training will encourage you to opt for the stairs next time. When it comes to burning calories while training your body to push its limits, you really need to add stair climbs into your outdoor fitness every chance you get!


6. Hiking

Consider this as half-cardio, half-strength training. Now add in hiking. But why hiking? The type of ground you walk on has an effect on the calories burned. For example, hard dirt terrain burns more calories than soft, cushy grass. Another added benefit when hiking? An uneven dirt terrain means that no two steps are the same. This literally forces your body to be active and carefully adjust to each step which ultimately burns more calories than if you were walking on a flat, even surface.

7. Dog Walking

Well, this one is just plain fun. The key to sticking to your outdoor fitness routine is finding new ways to motivate yourself. Bringing along a pal will boost your morale and keep you on the path to fitness.

8. Swimming

Swimming is great for forcing your body to work without injuring your body with high impact exercises that strain the joints. It’s also a great change of pace from other forms of exercise. Go on, jump in. Add swimming to your workout regimen.

9. Outdoor Running (Intervals)

Outdoor running in intervals can burn more calories than regular running in the same amount of time. But what exactly is the difference? Interval running involves periodically running at a faster pace instead of sticking to a comfortable running rate throughout your workout. Why? So your body exhausts itself faster. Your heart rate skyrockets and you burn more calories. Keeping your heart rate up is key to faster weight loss and a more toned body.

10. Cycling

Cycling is generally a low impact form of exercise that’s ideal for most people. In addition to getting in a good workout, you’ll be able to explore and see more of your town/city in less time. Get out and get rolling!