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Top 10 Best Outdoor Cardio Exercises for Your Workout

Dear Friend and Fellow Athlete,

Those of you who have been pent up inside doing cardio can finally get outside to work out.  Of course, you’ll want to stick to this top 10 list of outdoor cardio workout exercises if you really want to get amazing results.

Living in the city, I’m often stuck doing my cardio workout inside for many months out of the year.  That means hours spent jogging in place on a treadmill while watching CNN because some fat guy beat me to the gym at 5 in the morning.  Oh sometimes I switch things up and ride an exercise bike or do the elliptical machine, but for the most part, I can’t wait for the warm weather so that I can get outside again.

Fortunately, the weather has gotten warmer and I can get outside to do my cardio workout again.  I not only love doing cardio outdoors because of the weather, but also because of all the options I have outside of the gym.  Here’s a look at the top 10 cardio workout exercises I like doing outside.  And I get amazing results by doing these exercises too!

Cardio Workout Exercise #1. Cycling

I know what you’re thinking... I can just ride an exercise bike and get the same effect.  However, who wants to be stuck peddling in place when the outdoors is calling?  Riding a bike outside is one of the best exercises for the spring and summer because you can actually ride towards a destination, and check out nice scenery along the way.  If you’re looking for some extra competition while cycling, then you might want to consider entering a race since most areas offer these around the summertime. 

Even if you aren’t interested in competitive cycling, you can still enjoy yourself by keeping a nice pace.  You’ll burn lots of calories in the process too since cycling 12-14 miles/hour for 30 minutes will burn around 400 calories (all examples in this article are based on a 200-pound man).  Even if you just want to ride at a leisurely pace, cycling is a nice way to break away from normal cardio workouts.

Cardio Workout ExerciseCardio Workout Exercise #2. Beach Volleyball

I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely suck at volleyball.  But I know that if you want to show off your build and meet some hot babes in the process, then beach volleyball is one of the best ways to do so.  Plus beach volleyball is more fun than most cardio activities since you are actually playing for points in this game.

By playing an hour of beach volleyball, you will burn over 300 calories.  Perhaps even more important than this though is that you will also get a great calve workout on top of the cardio since volleyball involves so much jumping.  Just make sure you don’t look too silly when you’re out there playing!

Cardio Workout Exercise #3. Walking/Running Uphill

Just plain old walking or running outside beats being on the treadmill indoors.  But these exercises get even more intense when you add an incline into the mix since walking 30 minutes on an incline will burn around 300 calories. 

Of course, walking or running uphill isn’t always easy since you must first find a good place where you can perform this workout.  If you’re looking at sprinting uphill, then a single steep hill should do the trick since you can just run up and down it. But for long distance walks/runs, you’ll want to find a hilly area so you don’t get tired out too quickly.  Whether you’re walking or running, always make sure to be careful when coming back down the hill since injuries can occur if you’re out of control.

Cardio Workout Exercise #4. Swimming

There’s nothing that I love to do more than go for a nice swim when it’s warm outside.  Swimming is a great overall body workout, and can really burn calories when done properly.  Assuming I’m swimming at a lake, I like to pick a point in the water and swim down and back at a fast pace.  This ensures that I’m getting an intense workout while, at the same time, doing something I love.

Cardio Workout Exercise

If you don’t have access to a lake, try finding a swimming pool with lanes in it and swim down and back.  Now you don’t have to be Michael Phelps when doing this workout, but at least keep a moderate pace going because just 30 minutes of this exercise will burn 300 calories.

Cardio Workout Exercise #5. Basketball

Besides beach volleyball, another sport that’s way more fun outdoors is basketball.  Even if you’re like me and have absolutely no jump shot at all, you can still benefit greatly by playing hoops.  Playing an hour of full court basketball will burn an astounding 1,000 calories! 

The only drawback to playing basketball is that it’s hard to meet babes while doing this since most females don’t want to take the chance of being posted up by some sweaty jerk who takes the game way too seriously.  But if you can get past this aspect, and don’t mind playing a sport that’s filled with tons of guys who cry when they’re fouled, then basketball is an excellent form of cardio workout.

Cardio Workout Exercise #6. Rowing

Those who can’t get enough of cardio workout on the water should definitely try rowing.  Assuming you’re working the whole time, rowing can burn over 600 calories in an hour.  Even if you stop to admire the scenery once and a while, you can still burn between 400 and 500 calories in an hour.

What’s more is that rowing provides an amazing upper body workout away from the weights.  Another cool thing about rowing is that you can get a larger boat and bring your friends along too.  If still you’re thinking of just staying in the gym and using the rowing machines, then listen: you’ll get a way better workout by doing the real thing!

Cardio Workout Exercise #7. Hiking

Another great uphill cardio workout exercise is hiking.  Hiking is also the most scenic outdoor exercise you can possibly do, and it’s even more fun when you live near awesome trails and/or mountain ranges.  One hour of constant hiking can burn over 500 calories; you’ll burn even more when the terrain is tougher.

Besides getting a good cardio workout through hiking, you can also build up your quads and glutes by trekking uphill. If you use hiking poles like I do, you add an upper body workout while on the adventure. 

Cardio Workout Exercise #8. Tennis

I have to be honest here... I get more cardio workout exercise chasing after mishit tennis balls than I do actually playing the game.  That being said, it still thrills me when I manage to get a volley going with another player.  The amount of calories I burn playing tennis is one more element to love about it since the game burns 550 calories an hour.

One thing that I would like to point out about tennis is that you’ll want to be sure and stretch really well before hitting the courts.  That’s because tennis is a game that involves lots of starting, stopping, and fast sprinting.  Once you’re good and limber, you can hit the courts and starting turning up your cardio.

Cardio Workout Exercise #9. Stadium Runs

Of all the outdoor cardio workout exercises I’ve done, I have to say that running stadiums is the least fun.  After all, who enjoys running up and down flights of stairs while your legs are on fire.  This exercise only gets worse as the stadiums get bigger too!

Bitching aside, stadiums are also the best possible way to get in shape fast because you will burn calories at an incredible rate with this exercise.  And it’s a lot better than using those stupid stair climber machines at the gym.  The only thing I’d like to add with this exercise is that you need to use extreme caution when both going up and coming down the stairs. 

Cardio Workout Exercise #10. Interval Training

Did I say stadiums were my least favorite cardio workout exercise?  Oops, it’s actually intervals because this exercise involves running as fast as you can for specified time periods.  Now I don’t mind the 30 second sprints, but the 3 minute fast-paced runs are what get me.  Of course, the reason why I keep doing intervals is because they provide an amazing workout.

The amount of calories you can burn with interval training varies based on the amount of time you’re running for each interval.  But assuming that you work yourself hard for 30 minutes, you can burn up to 500 calories during this short time frame.  If you’re interested in doing intervals, then I suggest that you start out by doing more walking than running.  As your conditioning improves, you will be able to do more intervals for longer amounts of time.

Here's some links to discuss cardio workout exercise both outdoors and indoors on the EliteFitness.com Forums.

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