Health Benefits

40 Ways to Exercise Outdoors (and Most Are Free!)

According to the American Heart Association, adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardio activity.

Exercising outdoors is one way to have fun while staying fit! You get the benefits of being in nature, the opportunity to be with others, and a chance to work on gaining skills that you don’t get in a gym.

Below are a few ideas to inspire your outdoor recreation. Some may be available as organized activities in your community. Check your local resources.

  1. Practice Tai Chi.
  2. Play with your dog.
  3. Go for a swim.
  4. Go on a hike (get a free California State Library Parks Pass at your local library).
  5. Volunteer to walk shelter dogs or a friend’s pet.
  6. Make the most of free body weight equipment stations, or use a park bench.
  7. Take up gardening.
  8. Host a bocce ball tournament.
  9. Go for a bike ride.
  10. Climb stairs or bleachers.
  11. Go surfing or boogie boarding.
  12. Pick up trash around town.
  13. Play disc golf.
  14. Float down a river, on a lake, or in a pool (check life jacket guidelines).
  15. Play beach volleyball.
  16. Take an art walk.
  17. Visit the driving range or play a round of golf.
  18. Skip a jump rope.
  19. Test your skills on an outdoor climbing wall.
  20. Explore your city—walk or ride your bike.
  21. Go for a horseback ride.
  22. Twirl a hula hoop.
  23. Go for a jog or a run.
  24. Bird watch at a park or natural area (Audubon offers tips for beginners).
  25. Explore the water on a kayak or paddleboard.
  26. Practice roller skating.
  27. Organize a scavenger hunt.
  28. Play with your kids or grandkids.
  29. Join a dance class or dance at an outdoor concert.
  30. Play backyard badminton.
  31. Pick up a tennis match.
  32. Toss around a frisbee.
  33. Organize a game of paintball.
  34. Go ziplining or take a tour among the treetops.
  35. Visit a miniature golf course.
  36. Grab some friends and play cornhole or horseshoes.
  37. Join a yoga in the park class.
  38. Take part in an aerobics class.
  39. Explore your local farmer’s market (PDF).
  40. Challenge your friends to a basketball, baseball, soccer, or flag football game.

Here are a few additional considerations when exercising outdoors:

  • Carry water and snacks.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, a hat, and UV protective clothing.
  • Have the proper equipment, from supportive shoes to essential gear.
  • If needed, grab bug spray and a first aid kit.
  • Ensure your phone is fully charged.
  • Know the signs and treatment of heat-related illness and hypothermia.

Our health plans offer events and resources designed to improve your health and well-being. Many of them are free and open to the public!