6 Outdoor Workouts to Expand Your Mind & Body

Don’t you just love being outside and connecting with nature? When everything is feeling out of balance and you need to come back to the center, adding an outdoor workout can be just the thing you need to spark new life into your weekly routine. The world can move fast and taking one of your daily routines outside is the perfect way to reconnect with your highest self. Whether you’re seeking clarity or just want more peace of mind, these outdoor workouts will help you discover new ways to achieve overall wellness.

Since every day doesn’t permit a full-on workout – whether it’s a yoga class, or some other type of exercise — here at The Daily Shifts, we’ve come to rely on integrating mindfulness into our daily activities. Bringing a sense of intention and awareness to these activities will open you up to the possibility of a more rich and full life

Try these outdoor workouts to bring more peace and balance to your fitness routines and daily life:

Trail Running

Running is one of the most accessible, whole-body, outdoor workouts you can do in nature. It has a way of disconnecting you from the world and that space allows for deep self-reflection. They call it runner’s high for a reason. When we take our runs outdoors, we immediately ground into our connection with nature, making trail running a great way to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine. 

When you’re on your run, clear your mind and use this time as a meditation. Bring awareness to the connection between your breath and your body, as well as the connection between your feet and the earth. Be open to this new experience and remember to be gentle with yourself.

Mountain Biking

An inescapable, childlike joy comes from riding a bike over dramatic high desert landscapes, or through forests of towering pines. The good news is mountain biking is a hobby anyone can enjoy. Trails for all levels exist all over the world making mountain biking extremely accessible. The physical benefits of trail riding are obvious, but new research suggests that mountain biking can also help you build healthy habits in spirit and mind.

While most types of physical activity can help increase overall wellness, the complex skills developed while mountain biking builds additional layers of confidence, focus, and resilience.

Overcoming intricate and even simple challenges on the trail can bring a sense of mastery, accomplishment, and joy to anyone. You will encounter cliffs, rocks, mud, and loose gravel and your ability to be present in these moments are crucial.


There’s something so serene and peaceful about being near water. Connect with nature and get an outdoor workout through kayaking. Kayaking is a form of cardiac exercise which helps us improve our endurance and strength. 

Kayaking also releases special “feel good” chemicals in our body and brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Research shows kayaking can boost your self-confidence levels and put you in a better mood. You can rent kayaks for day use and see for yourself how this outdoor workout will help you feel more connected and clear.

Bike Ride

Cycling pumps blood around your entire body at a super high rate. This allows endorphins to rapidly spread and other good stuff like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This outdoor workout also promotes positive mental health and increased self-esteem. It’s also been known to decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. 

Cycling has been shown to be one of the most effective outdoor workouts for connecting the head and the heart. Regular riding also helps synchronize your circadian rhythm and can help to reduce levels of stress hormones that can make proper regenerative, deep sleep difficult. Zone out by concentrating on the actions and being present in the moment.

Stand Up Paddle Board

Paddleboarding provides a low impact, repetitive motion while deep breathing in nature.  

If you're already a fan of cross-training routines that challenge your balance and brain, stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) will be the outdoor workout for you. This is a gentle, summer workout that challenges the body and provides a scenic view of the horizon. Not to mention the relaxing ambiance and serenity of water. 

It’s more convenient than you think. All you need is a board and paddle and you can hit the water. Tons of parks and even beaches offer rentals by the day or hour. While paddleboarding, remember to focus on your core and balance. Use your paddle to guide you in the direction you would like to go.

Meditation in nature

When we sit directly on the earth during our nature meditations, our body’s rhythm will start to naturally sync with the earth’s vibrations. This practice builds harmony and enhances the meditation experience. You might find your senses heightened as noises become more clear and sensitivity to other movements. Meditation in nature has been shown to bring about a better overall sense of wellbeing and connection with our highest self.

If you can’t make it to the wilderness to meditate, stepping outside to your backyard or even a local park can be just as beneficial. The nearby sounds will bring great awareness and connection to the moment, let them reinforce your practice.

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