Going to the gym regularly is a great way to stay fit, but because of time constraints, budgetary limitations or personal preference, you might be looking for a way to get your exercise outside of the gym.

For a great workout without stepping foot inside your local fitness center, give one of these seven exercise approaches a try.


If you want to enjoy beautiful scenery on your quest for fitness, hit the trails for a hike. You’ll burn calories and work out a number of muscle groups, including abs, legs and hips. Hiking has mental health benefits, too; for example, studies have shown that hiking boosts creativity. For more intense exercise, hike uphill or strap on a heavy pack. Make sure to keep hydrated, stay aware of trail conditions and stick with a companion.


Swimming is a fun way to get your exercise, and it can be done indoors or outdoors. A swimming regimen is a good fitness choice for many people, because not only does it involve your whole body, build strength and improve your cardiovascular health, but also, the buoyancy the water provides makes this workout easy on your joints. If you’re not ready to swim laps, walking laps in waist-deep water is a good alternative.


Conditioning coach Mike Antoniades claims that walking at a speed of at least four miles per hour is as beneficial an exercise as jogging, and it’s gentler on the body.

While jogging and running can be damaging to knees, ankles and hips, walking puts less strain on those joints. Walking is good for burning calories, increasing bone strength and improving balance. Keep your arms moving in a natural swing as you walk, and you’ll engage your arms, as well as your legs, in your workout.


Cyclists will benefit from improved coordination, increased stamina and strengthened muscles. Biking is a fun workout that offers the opportunity to explore your local area. Also, riding your bike to work or school can be an easy way to fit exercise into your day. Wearing the right protective gear is important, so don’t forget your helmet, as well as knee and elbow pads.

Trail Running

Trail running provides an uneven surface that engages some of your lesser-used muscles and intensifies a running regime. Also, running on a trail can cause less impact shock on your joints than running on a hard surface, such as pavement. Not only is trail running a good workout, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to spend time in nature. For beginner trail runners, it’s a good idea to start with fairly smooth trails before graduating to trickier ones.

Rowing or Paddling

For a fitness experience on the water, head out in a rowboat, canoe or kayak. Just as a rowing machine is a good exercise indoors, rowing or paddling an actual boat is a good workout with a more scenic view. These water activities are especially good for building upper body strength, and according to Mayo Clinic, canoeing can burn over 250 calories per hour. Just make sure to keep paddling; floating idly on the water is relaxing, but it doesn’t provide much exercise!

Inline Skating

While inline skating, also known as Rollerblading, at 20 miles per hour, you’ll burn about six calories per minute. You’ll also work your leg muscles, glutes and abs. Skating is a low-impact activity that doesn’t cause significant impact shock to the joints like some other individual sports, such as running, do. To increase the intensity, spend part of your inline skating workout going uphill. Skating hard in a tuck position is another way to intensify your skating regimen.

As the Apostle John wrote in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Regular physical activity plays a significant role in your overall health, so take control of your fitness with these seven effective activities that can be done outside the gym.

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