Best Cardio-Friendly Outdoor Workouts

Best Cardio-Friendly Outdoor Workouts

Posted by Sydney Bollinger on

Now that summer’s here and the temperatures are warm, you can move your workout outdoors. ZOZOFIT knows that the gym may be nice, but nothing beats outside, especially since being in nature can benefit your mental health. The best cardio-friendly outdoor workouts are workouts that will fit into your training plan and help you increase your fitness levels. 

Before exercising outside, though, always make sure to have some essentials so you can safely face the elements (especially the summer sun). Sunscreen is a must, especially if you tend to work out wearing anything that might show skin. A hat and sunglasses can also help protect you from the sun. It’s also good to have a phone on you if you plan to be in remote and less-traveled areas, as well as something with a GPS. When hiking, cycling, or running long distances, the last thing you want is to be lost or stranded. 

Once you’ve geared up, it’s time to open the front door and see what the world has to offer! Try one of the best outdoor workouts listed below. 


Hiking, while it may depend on where you live, is a great form of outdoor exercise. Not only do you see the benefits of walking, but also you will build muscle, improve balance, and better your heart health. One of the other great things about hiking is that it can be a one-day excursion or turn into weeks, sometimes even months, of activity. 

Before you start, though, you need to make sure you identify a trail that fits your skill level and ability. Websites like AllTrails feature difficulty ratings and reviews of trails so you can prepare before getting to the trailhead. Some trails may be busy and well-trodden, whereas others could be rather remote. No matter where you hike, be sure to have water, some snacks, and any safety equipment you might need (like bear spray!) to ensure a good hike.   


One of the best things about running is that you can run pretty much anywhere. Live out in the country? You can run. Live in a huge city? You can run. Live somewhere in between? You can also run! 

Running is consistently proven to be one of the best forms of cardio. It gets your heart pumping and you will burn a lot of calories — which is an added plus. 

All you need to start running is a pair of shoes and a route. When just beginning to run outside, it’s best to choose to run places you’re familiar with. So, try taking a jog around your neighborhood or going to a local park and running on the sidewalks. And, as always, never start by “doing too much.” Taking incremental steps will help you prevent injury — especially since running is considered high-impact — and see huge results. 

Kayaking, canoeing, or rowing  

Some of the most underrated forms of exercise are kayaking, canoeing, and rowing. These sports improve your cardiovascular health while strengthening your upper body

The first step to one of these is obtaining a kayak, canoe, or other type of boat. Many places near the water will do day rentals of these items or you might be able to find them on online buy-sell-trade groups for a discounted price. Once you have a boat, it’s time to hit the water! 

Like with other outdoor sports, you’ll want to ensure the safety of yourself and anyone else who may be with you. This means wearing life jackets (no matter how shallow the water is), bringing water, snacks, sunscreen, and having a phone or GPS device if you get lost. 


Cycling doesn’t just mean riding your bike on the road). There are so many forms of cycling that you can definitely find a kind of cycling that will interest you and get you moving. 

If you’re a new cyclist, a simple bike path ride would probably be best, especially if you’re not fully comfortable on a bike. As you gain confidence, you can try road cycling, gravel riding, and even mountain biking! 

Each type of cycling is a great low-impact cardiovascular exercise that will help you gain strength. Plus, activities like gravel biking and mountain biking can provide even more ability to build strength both in your lower and your upper body, since the conditions may be more strenuous. 

Having a GPS or a known route is a must when cycling, as well as making sure you have a spare tire tube and the materials needed to change a flat! 

Cross-country skiing 

Unlike downhill skiing, which uses gravity to help you reach your destination, cross-country skiing is all human powered! This outdoor workout is especially good for anyone living in a cold climate who just needs to find a way to get outside and move during winter. 

Also, even though cross-country skiing is weight-bearing, it isn’t “high impact” like running. Since you’re moving across the snow, you’ll be able to build muscle without detrimental impact to your joints. Just be mindful that while cross-country skiing is something that anyone can do, it can still be very difficult! Don’t “ski” into this thinking it will be easy. 

Like with other sports that require going long distances across potentially remote areas, having a buddy, communication device, and GPS are essential. 

Rock climbing and bouldering

Climbing gyms may be all the rage now, but nothing beats climbing outside. If you are new to rock climbing, you may want to gain skill by climbing at indoor gyms, but once you feel confident in your ability it’s time to round up some friends and find a good place to climb. 

Rock climbing and bouldering are known to have many benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, building strength, and even “boosting brain power.” Unlike other activities, climbers have to make choices, plan, and react throughout the sport in order to reach their destination. It’s not just a physical workout — it’s a mental workout too! 

As with all of these outdoor recreational sports, make sure you have the correct equipment to be safe. Get your crash pad, climbing shoes, chalk bag, harness, and belay all ready to go before you head out. And once your back, you can track your progress with the ZOZOFIT app and accompanying ZOZOSUIT.

Stay in the know

Keep up to date with the latest in ZOZOFIT