Words by Dwight Hill

Summer is still here and steadily rockin’, so why would you want to spend it cooped up in an indoor gym? Staying in shape is vital to your overall health, and most gyms have everything you need to complete your normal routine, but while the good weather is still on-point, there’s no reason not to get out there and try a few outdoor exercises on for size. Here’s a few scenarios that’ll help you stay sturdy while basking in that fresh air.

Tried and True: Outdoor Running

Going for an outdoor run is simplicity at its finest. There’s a good chance running is already part of your fitness routine, but since summer’s here, you can really turn up the heat. Instead of running on the treadmill or the same old neighborhood paths you’re accustomed to, try mixing things up by running in a more challenging location.

Take your run to the beach and try out some sand sprints. These are god-flow for strengthening your feet, toes, and ankles, plus the softness of the sand adds some extra challenge if you’ve plateaued performing your typical run. Lose the shoes, and a barefoot beach run will provide you with even more in the way of difficulty. (Just be sure to pick a clean beach for your exercise.)

Alternatively, you could take your sprints to the hills. The natural inclines will have you working against gravity, adding to challenge and burning more calories, while simultaneously improving your speed, endurance, and technique. Hikes are much more dynamic than generic gym equipment and the resistance you get from real-world cardio is unparalleled.

Location Independence: Working out at the Park

There ain’t many better ways to log a varied training session than a workout at the park. If your park of choice has some built-in aids you can use, then you already know what to do: pull-ups, crunches, dips, etc. Even if your park is devoid of equipment, you can still get an intense weight-free workout going with some push-ups, mountain climbers, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, 15-20 minutes with your jump rope or stair sprints should be enough to get you goin’ at peak performance. For the travelers out there, amazing parks can be found in literally any city you’re in, so you never need to worry about the logistics of a gym pass away from home.

Out the Ordinary: Exercise at Sea

Swimming is the obvious selection for working out in the water, and when you ditch the indoor pool for the open waters, you’ll have a chance to up your game thanks to some unique challenges. The current, waves, and ocean surf will all be working against you, so you’ll have to put in some extra effort during your swim. Just be sure to take a buddy along, and swim in an area where the lifeguards have a watchful eye on the water.

Another option for working out on the water is paddleboarding. When you’re paddling on a stand-up board, you’re simultaneously working your core, toes, legs, back, shoulders, arms and neck. It’s a low-impact form of exercise that doesn’t put a lot of strain on the joints, and, to top it off, it can help you build balance and get your blood pumping like a mf (an average-sized man can burn upwards of 700 calories an hour).

Classic Recreation: Any Outdoor Sport

Of course, there’s no topping the level of fun associated with any of the outdoor sports you can engage in during the summer – especially if it involves the entire #squad. Take your pick: basketball, football, baseball, soccer — they all have their advantages and parts of the body they’ll help you stay fit. If you prefer sports that you can play with fewer people, just grab a +1 and head to the tennis court. No matter the choice, you’ll stay plenty fit with regular play.