Shake it Up for Spring (and Summer!)

Here comes the sun—and (with a nod to Beatles fans) if it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter, now is the time to lace up your sneakers and head outdoors to shake up your winter exercise routine.

Gyms are great, of course, but there’s plenty of research that suggests getting outdoors is good for you. You’ll get a dose of vitamin D from the sunshine and quite possibly a mental health boost. In one study, researchers reported that participants in “green exercise” in natural areas cited improved mood, focus, and energy compared to people who exercised indoors.

You’ll also get a different workout, even if you’re doing a similar activity. If you’ve been walking or running on a treadmill, for example, you might enjoy the outdoor challenge of an uneven terrain, running uphill, or over rocks that force you (in a good way) to focus on balance and coordination.

Try out some of these fair-weather activities—just be sure you aim for the recommended 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week to get the best health benefit.

Summer Social

What’s more fun than enjoying a beautiful spring or summer day? Enjoying it with friends—or even people you’ve just met. Look for:

  • A sports club or league—running, hiking, adult soccer, softball, baseball, swimming, pickleball—you name it, there’s probably a group doing it. Feeling shy about your abilities? More than likely, you’ll find participants at all ability levels.
  • An outdoor yoga class or aquarobics.
  • Opportunities to organize a neighborhood pickup game. Horseshoes or cornhole might not count as aerobic exercise, but it will get you off the couch and offer social interactions and fresh air.
  • Local, state or national parks for programs, including birding, hiking, and rock climbing.
  • Friends or family who like to throw a frisbee.

swimming in a lake

Going Solo

If the gym is your place to get away from it all, you’ll find abundant opportunities outdoors, too. Consider:


Lap swimming offers both an excellent cardio and strength workout, and (bonus) a peaceful way to spend an hour or so.


If it’s been a while since you went for an outdoor run, take it easy at first. Check out running or walking trails that might offer both less traffic and impact on your joints than streets and sidewalks.


Strap on a helmet and hit a mountain bike trail, or just tour the neighborhood. Easy riding, such as when commuting or soft-pedalling, burns about 300 calories per hour.


You’ll probably have exactly zero takers if you announce you’re going to do some weeding or other yardwork, virtually guaranteeing some time alone. Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest you might burn nearly as many calories as you would at the gym.


Outside the Box

Summer should be a bit of adventure, don’t you think? If you’re ready to go outside your usual fitness box, consider:

Elevated adventure

Try ziplining, for an exhilarating tour above the treetops.

Old-fashioned fun

Have some nostalgia-laced fun with the kids—catching fireflies, a scavenger hunt, nature walk, capture the flag, hide-and-seek, or kick the can.


This global movement originated in Sweden. Ploggers combine jogging with picking up litter, taking to the streets with bags to pick up trash they come across while exercising. Thanks to social media, ploggers claim to be part of a phenomenon involving over 20,000 people a day in more than 100 countries.

Let’s get out there—just remember to wear sunscreen, monitor the weather, and take along plenty of water to stay hydrated.

  • Rodney Reeves
    Posted at 10:33h, 12 May


  • Scott Grieshop
    Posted at 14:20h, 11 May


  • Alexis Carter
    Posted at 09:57h, 09 May

    Thank you!

  • Donna Millman
    Posted at 07:55h, 09 May

    Good ideas for getting exercise with these hot days and summer approaching.

  • Vesna Corlukic
    Posted at 23:26h, 08 May

    Thank you

  • June Rhyne
    Posted at 18:43h, 08 May

    Thank you very much!!

  • Krista Rohrer
    Posted at 11:01h, 08 May
  • Doris Morrison
    Posted at 08:13h, 08 May

    Great news thank you

  • Tami Eilts
    Posted at 05:20h, 08 May

    Thanks.. The world could use more ploggers.

  • Denise Smith
    Posted at 22:05h, 07 May

    Thank you!

  • Pamela Vaughn
    Posted at 12:55h, 07 May


  • Melchora Shores
    Posted at 12:27h, 07 May

    Very good reminders of outdoor exercises & the benefits of it, thank you

  • Tamika Felder
    Posted at 11:52h, 07 May


  • Marilyn Bynoe
    Posted at 10:51h, 07 May

    Great advice.

  • betty cirbes
    Posted at 10:44h, 07 May

    thank you

  • Darla D Burgess
    Posted at 08:07h, 07 May

    I try to some fun things if I’m not busy working all the time.

  • Christina Gordon
    Posted at 17:38h, 06 May


    Posted at 15:24h, 06 May

    Thanks for the information

  • Lorri Davis
    Posted at 14:40h, 06 May

    Thank you

  • Amanda Overholt
    Posted at 14:19h, 06 May
  • sue brookes
    Posted at 12:45h, 06 May

    Thank you!

  • Shirley Gonzales
    Posted at 15:40h, 05 May


  • Alice grayes
    Posted at 14:03h, 05 May


  • Crystal Martin Evans
    Posted at 13:41h, 05 May

    Wonderful article.

  • Judy Holcombe
    Posted at 13:35h, 05 May

    Thank you.

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