Winter is finally receding and after spending months indoors you may find yourself itching to get out, ready to hit new goals, or both. That’s why we put together this list of 10 outdoor activities to help you get your heart pumping this spring.
Running 26.2, or more, miles at once doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months of training to get your body equipped to take on that challenge. But setting a goal for a 5k, 10k, or marathon DOES happen in one moment.
Take that moment, set your goal, and create a realistic plan to get going. With that milestone on the horizon, you’re much more likely to spend a few afternoons per week pursuing heart-pounding, endorphin pumping fun. Search for a run near you now.
If running feels too slow, try cycling. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, and in just one free hour you can spin across miles of road or trail.
If you have a bike, dust it off and hit the road. If you don’t, borrow one from a friend. By no means do you need a special bike to get peddling, breathe deep, and feel the fresh wind on your face.
If road cycling seems too tame, take to the bigger mountain bike. Whether you ride downhill or trails, the turns, jumps, and speed are a surefire way to get your heart-rate going. Check out MTB Project to find trails near you.
The size of the waves don’t matter.
Laying down on a surfboard paddling through crashing waves is a huge workout in itself. You’re bound to be out of breath when you catch a wave, and bound to be smiling big by the time you paddle back to shore.
Rowing is a full body workout on all levels. When you row, every muscle works in concert to move your self, your paddle, and your boat (or, if you’re indoors, the flywheel). Few things get your blood pumping harder.
Pull with your upper body while using your lower body to push as hard as you can. And remember that it should feel relaxed as much as it feels like effort -- the more you tense up, the harder you make it for yourself. Local clubs offer regular "Learn to Row" classes, getting you started with the right equipment and knowledge to create a lifelong passion. Find a rowing club near you.
Nothing takes your breath away like spending hours under a big open sky. Find a mountain whose peak is free of snow and ice to summit. Or, if there are no peaks nearby, take to the trails for several miles of solitude.
If you do find a peak nearby, just beware of how you’re feeling as you get higher and the air becomes thinner. Pushing yourself is fun, altitude sickness is not.
Swimming is perhaps the best low-impact, relaxing, yet heart-pounding exercise in there.
Submerged in the peaceful waters, take a couple strokes, expel your breath, and come up for air. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Get into a rhythm and swimming can actually be a great way to relax while working out.
The name says it all. No matter what, the bursts of activity make sure your heart rate stays high as you tackle this active and strenuous workout. Search for a local gym such as CrossFit or the like, sign up for a beginner's intro class, get moving, and feel great!
Rock climbing is equal parts intensity and zen.
Imagine you’re high up on a mountain. Gusts rush past as you reach for a hold that’s smaller than your big finger… But even if you fall, you’re safe. Your partner and your gear are holding you in case of a slip. As you can guess, any of that’s bound to get your heart racing. You can get started a local indoor gym, which is a great way to learn the ropes (literally) and establish a friend base of climbers to tag along with and borrow gear before making the purchase yourself. Find a gym near you.
Kayaking is an underrated way to get your blood pumping and lungs moving. Paddle hard downstream and go with the current, or go upstream and face the current head-on.
What’s more, you can explore. Your kayak can float you down raging rapids or take you to a secluded beach that’s only accessible to human-powered watercraft. Ask around to see if a friend has a kayak or two, or search for a nearby boat rental--most offer day-long kayak rentals for a small fee.
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