In honor of Earth Day, we’re challenging you to forego your usual gym routine and #optoutside instead. We’ve all been there - stuck in the ho-hum daily grind of our indoor fitness routines, completely forgetting what it feels like to get outside, fill our lungs with a big gulp of crisp air and soak up some sun rays (with a light coating of SPF, of course). There’s an unlimited amount of beauty and excitement waiting to be experienced if we would just challenge ourselves to think outside the box a little and do something different. Let’s be honest, the elliptical is fun for about 10 minutes before you’re stuck staring at a sports game you don’t care about or drooling over the buttery fettuccini alfredo Giada’s whipping up on the Food Network. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Outdoor Fitness Activities to try this week, in honor of Earth Day!
  1. Hiking Hiking is one of the simplest ways to get some experience exercising outdoors. It requires almost no special equipment and you likely have everything you need already in your closet. Throw on a pair of comfortable shoes with arch support and enough tread so you won’t be complaining of sore feet or slipping and sliding along the trail. If you need some inspiration on where to hike near you, search’s more than 5000 trails, read user reviews and sort by experience level. Make sure to pack a couple Orgain Organic Protein Bars in your backpack for portable nourishment along the way!
  2. Tennis Tennis is a full-body workout, thanks to fast swings and quick cardio bursts that work your arms, chest, legs and core. It’s a great stress reliever; when was the last time you were encouraged to hit something hard and fast? Tennis requires you to challenge yourself to increase your skill level while practicing mental strength. It’s a very social sport, since you can’t play without a partner. Use a friendly afternoon tennis match as an opportunity to connect with your spouse, friends or kids. If you want to learn how to play with skill and strategy, take a lesson from a local pro, join clinics or visit your local tennis club.
  3. Surfing If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean and don’t surf, you’re selling yourself short. It’s really not as hard as it looks… contrary to what most surfers might want you to think. Paddling works your arms, shoulders, back, abs and chest, and nothing beats the thrill (aka “stoke”) of standing up on your first wave. It may not happen the first couple times you try, but as they say, “you gotta be committed to get pitted.” Grab yourself a soft-top Wavestorm surfboard at your local Costco and start charging those waves, brah.
  4. Cycling Cycling is much gentler on your joints (knees and hips) compared to running, though it’s an equally effective workout. Not to mention you can travel a longer distance more quickly, enabling you to take in more of your local landscape. It’s a low-impact cardio activity that doesn’t require high levels of physical skill. Once you learn, you never forget how to ride a bike. Just make sure to wear a helmet and always be alert of vehicles, and if you’re biking near dusk, install a light on your handlebars for safety.
  5. Golfing Golfing isn’t just for the rich and famous. There are local driving ranges and family friendly municipal golf courses where you can try your hand at golf without breaking the bank. There’s a lot of walking involved, which is a great way to keep your brain and heart healthy while socializing with friends. Believe it or not, golfers burn more calories than gymnasts according to the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities. This Earth Day, get out there and practice your swing!