Man Exercising Outback


Getting fit doesn’t have to mean cheesy fitness DVDs, long runs on treadmills, and slogging it out on a static bike in a gym. Getting fit can be done outside, surrounded by nature, and best of all, it’s totally free.


Road biking may be for lycra-clad town dwellers, but real backcountry lovers will have no problem getting into mountain biking. The uphill sections are a real challenge, pushing your cardiovascular capacity. Then the downhill trails are nothing but pure fun. This is also a great one to do with kids. While persuading them to hike to the summit to see your favourite views might be met with resistance, on a bike it feels like much more of an adventure to them and you should find them more willing.


Again, if running on a monotonous stretch of road sounds dull to you, or not enough of a challenge, give hill running a go. It is exhausting, and every muscle in your legs will be crying out to stop, but it makes for a great way to see more of the countryside. Get some trail running shoes to give yourself the right support and stability on the uneven trails.


If you are looking to build strength, particularly in your arms, back, and core, then climbing is the ultimate outdoor activity. There are plenty of indoor climbing gyms, and it might be worth starting in one of these to get the basics covered. But once you are ready to take on outdoor routes, there are few outdoor sports that are as rewarding, fat-burning, and terrifying as climbing.


Wild swimming in the sea is a relaxing way of getting your exercise done. Swimming is easy on the joints, making it the perfect exercise activity for those with joint problems, but it is also a solid way to increase your stamina and fitness levels. The wild swimming community is also a very sociable community.


Kayaking is great for upper body strength work, but it also works your core and back. It can also help with flexibility and stretching. For fishos, this is the ultimate exercise. Not only does it make you fitter, you can combine it with some fishing to get the ultimate day out. Before you head out, take a beginners class to learn technique, how to roll, and how to read a river or lake.


For those who really want to sculpt their muscles but want a change from the gym environment and to enjoy the outdoors, there are outdoor gyms. These are pieces of equipment, usually in urban parks where you can do pullups, dips, rows, etc. However, even if you live in the backcountry, you can make your own outdoor gym. A park bench is ideal for squats, step ups and dips. A tree is good for pullups, and when combined with a resistance band, you can complete rows, Russian twists, and flies. A flight of stairs is also great for lunges and cardio work.

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be a chore. Spending your time doing something you enjoy that also makes you healthy is a win-win situation. It is also a great opportunity to try something new.


Are there any other ways you can exercise outside, Share your comments below.

Jake Taylor
Jake Taylor

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.