I worked at a gym in college, studied nutrition and fitness in my spare time, and found myself spending more time working on my ass and my abs than I did with real live people (face palm).
Maybe I’ll go into that story another time, but essentially, I spent so many hours working out inside that I “OD’d” on the gym.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think gyms are bad. There’s A.C., fun amenities, classes, and hotties to lurk at in the weight room (wait, puh-lease don’t be that guy!).
But gyms can also be stale, treadmills are covered in someone else’s sweat, and you can’t do squats in the weight room without dudes looking over their shoulder (ladies, you know what I mean).
Not to mention, running in place staring at whatever is left on the TV overhead (typically food networks, soap operas, and sports) is so boring. Sometimes I cut my runs short so I can get the heck out of there!
So, for those who you who love a good work out, but prefer doing an activity combining fun, friends, and exercise, here are a few outdoor summer activities to avoid the gym this summer.
1. Grab Two Wheels Instead of Four
If you live in a bike-friendly city, get to your destination by riding your bike instead of driving. For a more extensive workout, find local trails or bike paths in your town where you can ride for miles. Increase your endurance by adding hills and lengthening your routes. You’ll love the fresh air and new scenery when you skip the indoor bike and take it outside.
2. Make Some Waves
Grab a surfboard, paddle board, or wakeboard and work on your board skills in the ocean or behind a boat. Your legs and your abs will feel it while you’re having fun and staying cool!
3. Hit The Trail For Trail Running
Even your favorite running routes near your home can get stale and boring over time. Change it up by finding hiking trails to explore by foot, only faster. Running on dirt paths away from traffic or pavement is good for the soul and far better than mind-numbing, knee pounding runs on a treadmill. You’ll love the distraction of discovering the view around each corner as the miles fly by.
4. Jump In A Lake
Summer is the perfect time to skip the indoor swim and take your swimming skills outside. Hop in local lake or river, or find a secluded mountain lake with friends. Don’t swim alone and know the depth before you dive (enter disclaimer about being smart here), but have fun with it. Enjoy the exercise and the beauty around you without chlorine and chemicals.
5. Dance Your Lil Heart Out
I’m not suggesting to bob your knees up and down while sipping on a lemon drop. I mean literally dance your little heart out. Take a salsa, swing dancing, hip hop, or line dancing class and dance the night away. You’ll work on your cardio, balance, and your sweet dance moves in one fun-filled evening!
6. Climb Mountains
Strengthen your legs and cardio by hitting the trail and heading straight up. Hiking improves your cardio and endurance making you better at running and other sports. The best part, you get to enjoy fresh air and your hard work isn’t in vain when you enjoy a view at the top. Start small and work your way up to more challenging hikes or overnight backpacking adventures.
7. Play Pick-Up Sports With Friends
Play soccer, basketball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, or your sport of choice with friends or local groups. Each sport offers a little competitive fun and opportunities to meet new people. Avoid solo workouts at the gym by joining friends or locals for a pick-up game or plan your own and invite people to join!
8. Use Your Weight
Build your muscles with weight bearing exercises such as push-ups, crunches, squats, and lunges. Work around your house, improve your yard, or put your hipster flannel to good use by actually chopping firewood. There are lots of ways to build muscles through activities that don’t include taking gym selfies! 😉
If you’re burnt out on the gym experience, there’s other options to keep active and have fun. Trade 30 minutes on a treadmill to nowhere with riding your bike outside or choosing a fun activity to get your heart rate up.
I could think of plenty more active ideas, but I’m curious to hear your favorite activities to stay fit. Share in the comments below!