Sustainability | Renewable Energy

8 Kings of Green Exercise

8 Kings of Green Exercise: These Outdoor Workouts Offer a Multitude of Benefits 

By Beth Rush


Physical activity provides oodles of perks. So does spending time outdoors. The benefits of green exercise amplify the positive effects of both modalities, kicking the goodness up a notch. 

You can perform nearly any activity you typically do in the gym amidst Mother Nature. The benefits of green exercise include skipping the sweat, the groaning and the inevitable selfie stick or two as an influencer films their routine for Insta. You can find peace and serenity through a solo workout or invite friends as you breathe deeply, inhaling fresh air that doesn’t smell vaguely of disinfectant and sweaty socks. 

Summer is the perfect time to reap the benefits of outdoor workouts — although you may love your new routine so much, you won’t let inclement weather slow you down. If you’re seeking inspiration for what to do, mix up your routine with these kings of green exercise. 

1. Playground Toning 

You take your kids to the playground to get their exercise — why are you sitting on the bench? The coach didn’t pull you out of the game, so use this time to reap the benefits of green exercise. 

The best part of having kids is running, skipping and zipping down the slide without looking foolish. However, if you want a more formal workout, try walking or jogging the paths and toning up with these slick playground moves:

Bench step-ups: Place one leg atop the bench and step up 12 to 15 times before switching. 

Bench triceps dips: Back your booty against a bench or table, supporting yourself with your hands. Dip your body down toward the ground and feel the back of your arms engage. 

Hanging crunches: Dangle from the monkey bars and repeatedly pull your knees to your chest before extending them. 

2. Adventure Races 

An adventure race involves way more than just running. It’s a competitive way to kick your playground workout up a notch. You’ll scramble over obstacles and slither through muddy waters to reach the gold. Training for one is nearly as fun as game day itself and definitely better with a partner. Grab a pal and get dirty! 

3. Bouldering 

Although you may never freehand climb Yosemite’s El Cap, bouldering will give you the skills to do so while keeping you close to the ground. This king of green exercise has you scrambling up boulders around ten to 15 feet high while using a crash pad — which looks like a mattress — to catch your falls. 

You won’t need any ropes or carabiners, as the goal is to refine your freehand climbing skills. You will, however, get a fabulous full-body workout that engages muscles you forgot you had while reaping the benefits of green exercise. 

4. Parkour 

The quickest route between you and your destination is a straight line. Why let petty impediments like walls and staircases stand in your way?

Parkour is similar to an urban adventure race, although you often participate solo. The objective is to find the most efficient way to clear an obstacle by climbing, jumping, tucking or rolling. 

5. Trail Running

Trail running means never having to flinch when cars pass too close or inhale exhaust fumes. Additionally, dirt is more forgiving on your joints than concrete, easing aches and pains. The serenity of the forest environment invites you to mindfully tune into your body as you run, becoming aware of imbalances. While you should stop if you feel pain, you may become more conscious of the cause. 

For example, hyperlordosis exaggerates the natural S curve in your lower back, causing your tailbone to stick out — you can test by standing against a wall. Having the condition doesn’t mean you can’t run, but you may need to perform hamstring stretches to address the misalignment. Consult with your doctor if pain persists, as physical therapy often corrects the issue. 

6. Putt and Drive 

A round of golf can cost a pretty penny. However, driving and chipping provide excellent core work, putting develops coordination and both get you up and moving. If you don’t have the green to play through 18 holes, head to the driving range. A bucket of balls is less than $10 at most public courses, and you can cool down on the putting greens for free. 

7. Dance and Drum 

Group fitness classes like Zumba and Pound transform your workout into a dance party. Many instructors offered outside classes during the pandemic out of necessity. However, some have kept the outdoor venue in pleasant weather to let their participants reap the benefits of outdoor exercise. Find one and join in the fun. 

However, you don’t need a group if you aren’t shy about dancing like no one’s watching. Find a semi-secluded outdoor spot — your patio works — and fire up the tunes as you move your body. Invite the kiddos to a dance-off in the backyard to get the whole family fit while having fun in the sun. 

8. Yoga (with a Grounding Twist)

The word yoga means “union” in countless beautiful ways — the connection of your breath and body and the feeling of oneness with all living things that can develop over long practice. It can also refer to your connection with the earth when you add a grounding twist to your practice. 

Grounding or “earthing” refers to putting your bare feet or any part of your naked body against the earth. Many believe that the transfer of negative ions acts like an antioxidant to remove free radicals from your body’s cells to improve mental and physical health, and some evidence suggests it works. You know that yoga imparts many wellness perks, and doing so outside without a mat provides a trifecta of goodness that incorporates the benefits of green exercise. 

The Benefits of Green Exercise

Fitness should be fun, and taking your workout into the great outdoors makes it more so. The benefits of green exercise also include enjoying your workout more, so try it today. With the exception of bulky machines, you can do anything you can do in the gym — with a fun change of venue. 

However, the warm season is also the perfect time to mix up your routine a bit. Try one of these kings of green exercise routines on for size and find your perfect outdoor fitness fix. 

About the author: Beth Rush is the green wellness editor at Body+Mind, where she covers topics like the power of climate consciousness at all stages of education. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.