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Outdoor Activities for Weight Loss

7 min read

By Clarissa Vanner

  • Losing weight isn’t easy but it’s not impossible.
  • You don’t have to hit the gym 5-days a week to lose weight either. Take your exercise routine outdoors to shed calories and enjoy nature.
  • One key tip for success is to establish a healthy relationship with exercise. Don’t treat it as a punishment for what you ate, and don’t only work out to lose weight either.

Losing weight is no easy feat. It takes time, dedication, motivation, and perhaps the most important of all… consistency! Everyone’s weight loss journey will be different but a few important factors that will play a vital role in your weight loss success are managing your stress, getting good quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising.

If you don’t enjoy the environment of a gym, the good news is you can demolish calories outdoors too! Let’s take a look at 12 fun outdoor activities you can try to help you on your weight loss journey.


Walking or running on the treadmill is a great (and effective) way to add cardio to your exercise routine, but it can get boring fast. This is why hiking outdoors can be a great low-intensity alternative to running.

You could burn just as many calories, maybe even more, depending on the terrain. To get the most benefits out of hiking, try to pick a hiking route that has a good mix of flat, uphill, and downhill terrain. Plus the beautiful scenery you get to enjoy along the way is an added bonus!

Ultimate Frisbee

Even sports like ultimate frisbee can shred calories and help you lose weight! Women’s Health says ultimate frisbee is a great alternative to an ordinary HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout in the gym.

During this game, you’ll have to sprint, jog, leap, and twist, putting your agility to the test. It’s also a great sport to increase your endurance. Plus there’s a social aspect to it too as the game teaches you to work as a team. Grab a group of friends and play a game or check your local sports center for teams you can join in your community.

Rowing or Kayaking

Sure you can enjoy a sweat sesh on the rowing machine in the gym or you can take your workout outdoors, head to the water, and row for real! It’s a real calorie burner too. Women’s Health says rowing can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour.

Rowing is also a full-body sport. It engages your arms, chest, back, and legs. And since you have to sit upright, your core will be engaged too. Kayaking and canoeing can also be great options and has the same benefits as rowing!

Shoot Some Hoops

Grab a group of friends and head to an outdoor court to play ball! Men’s Journal points out that basketball works your thighs, calves, and core “all while building stamina as you hustle up and down the court.”

According to WebMD, basketball is a real calorie burner too. The source says you can burn up to 700-calories per hour, making it a great sport if you’re trying to lose weight. In addition to burning calories and improving muscle strength, basketball can also help improve your balance and coordination too.


Rollerblading has gained a lot of popularity again and for good reason — it’s fun! It’s also an effective way to move your body, especially for weight loss.

According to Healthline, a 160-pound person can burn up to 267-calories per 30-minutes of rollerblading at a consistent intensity. This makes it comparable to group cycling or moderate-intensity on the rowing machine, explains the source.

Beyond the calorie-burning benefits, rollerblading is also a good workout for your lower body muscles, such as your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. You’ll also be working on your balance and core stability too. Finally, it’s also low-impact, especially compared to running, making it gentler on your joints.


Swimming is another great cardiovascular activity you can do to lose weight. Unlike running, swimming is low-impact which means you can obtain the same benefits but without the added pressure on your painful joints. Plus there are many places you can swim outdoors from heading to the beach or heading to the pool — your choice!

Swimming can be a calorie burner but that won’t happen if you’re just wading in the water. Healthline says you can kick up your swimming routine by experimenting with different swim strokes and mixing up the intensity. Try sprint interval training which means swimming intensely for 30-seconds followed by a few minutes of rest, and repeat. Be sure to switch up your routine and technique so your body doesn’t hit a plateau.


Don’t underestimate the power of yoga. While some people may think it’s just gentle stretching, there’s more to it. Yoga can help you burn calories and strengthen your muscles. Harvard Health also says “Yoga may reduce joint pain, which in turn allows you to exercise more and increase your daily activities.”

Furthermore, yoga may help you lose weight in another way too. The source says it can help improve mindfulness and body awareness, which is why it’s known as moving meditation. As a result, this may help decrease emotional eating, stress eating, and binge eating.

Take your yoga session outdoors to connect with nature and soak in vitamin D from the sun. In fact, Women’s Health points out that the sounds of nature can help you relax.

Beach Volleyball

The next time you plan a beach day, consider playing a game of beach volleyball! Or you can join a team in your community. Beach volleyball offers a full-body workout.

Wellnessed points out that it targets and tones your arms, shoulders, legs, and abs. This game challenges your entire body as you have to change directions, squat, dive, jump, serve and hit, says the source. The sand adds extra resistance too. You can expect to burn around 290-calories per game, give or take depending on your current weight and the amount of intensity you put into the game.


If you love adventure and an adrenaline rush, rock climbing might be the sport for you. But before you hit the rocks outdoors, you need experience. Beginners need to start at an indoor gym and be trained by a professional.

Nonetheless, climbing is a great activity to add to your weight loss routine. It’s high-intensity and targets your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. It will also challenge your flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding is more popular than ever and there’s no wonder why. It can be fun and a great challenge. Stand-up paddleboarding requires a lot of coordination and balance. It can strengthen your abs, legs, back, and arms.

An hour of recreational paddleboarding can burn up to 400-calories. Make your workout even more challenging by trying paddleboard yoga or paddleboard racing. There are many fun ways to get your body moving on the water.


Hit the court with a friend to enjoy a game of tennis! This fast-paced game is a surefire way to get your heart rate up and torch calories. According to Healthline, a 154-pound individual can burn anywhere from 220- up to 1,000-calories depending on how long you play.

Tennis is also a great sport to improve your coordination and balance. And since you’ll need to move quickly front, back, and side-to-side as well as use your upper body muscles to swing the racket, you’ll be getting a full-body workout!


Sure you can cycle on an exercise bike in the gym but enjoy nature’s landscape and take your cycling session outdoors. Biking is also a great low-impact alternative to running that still gets your heart rate up but is gentler on your knees and ankles. Bike riding can be a great workout to torch calories but if you want to lose weight there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

Healthline says to make your biking workout more effective be sure to increase the intensity by pedaling harder or try taking an uphill route. You can also try turning your bike ride into a HIIT workout by biking intensely for 30- to 60-seconds followed by cycling at a leisurely pace for a few minutes.

Tips for Success

If you’re not used to exercising regularly, it can be hard to make it a habit. However, one key tip for success is to establish a healthy relationship with exercise. The saying “exercise isn’t a punishment for what you ate,”  as cliché as it is, holds a lot of value and truth. You shouldn’t treat exercise as a punishment, and honestly, you shouldn’t exercise only to lose weight either.

Part of developing a healthy relationship with exercise is doing it because you want to, because it’s fun, and because your body needs it. Get rid of your past negative beliefs, and create a healthy, and positive relationship with moving your body and over time you will come to love it.

Junior Managing Editor

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.

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