Green Exercise: 12 Creative Ways to Use Nature as Your Gym

We all know we feel better when we are out in nature but can green exercise really give us the workout we need? 

As soon as you start brainstorming ways to enjoy yourself while exercising outside, it becomes apparent just how many different activities are possible. Nature isn’t perfect so it constantly challenges our muscles for a great workout.

Use these 12 ideas to get you started thinking about how you can use nature in your next workout.

Natural Workout Equipment

Working out outdoors is an excellent way to enjoy the fresh air, improve your mood and get some exercise. One of the best places to do this is on natural obstacles such as rocks, logs, dirt paths, or even grassy fields. You can do many different exercises on these surfaces with just your body weight. 

  • Rocks: Lift and carry large rocks while running, squatting, or lunging.
  • Hills: Use the uneven terrain for an incline workout while jumping or running.
  • Trees: Climb it, do handstands, or practice your planks off the trunks.
  • Logs: Use as a balance beam or carry it on your walk through the woods.
  • Water: Use any body of water for water running and resistance on natural terrain.
  • Grass: Use as a soft underfoot springboard for yoga, running, and jumping.
  • Sand: Do yoga or run while your feet sink into the sand, acting as natural resistance.

Outside Man-Made Equipment

Not everything outdoors is natural, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a good workout from the manufactured objects found in the everyday great outdoors. Studies have shown that just being outside exercising is beneficial to your physical well-being. From playgrounds to benches, there are a million different ways to work out. Below are some of our favorite tips on how to stay active outside.

  • Park Benches: Do step-ups, leg lifts, jumping, and even pushups.
  • Playground Equipment: Use the monkey bars, swing sets, and ladders for jumping exercises and strength workouts.
  • Stairs: Run up and down the stairs for incline heavy cardio or lunges.
  • Walls: Practice your planking, wall sits, or handstands.
  • Stall Bars: Use for s stretching, leg lifts, and pull-ups.

Equipment You Can Bring from Home

Working out outside can be daunting for some people. If you are new to working out, you may not know what to bring with you when exercising outside. To help get started, we’ve lined up the essentials of what you should bring with you when working out outdoors.

  • Yoga Mat – Bring a yoga mat when you aren’t used to the surface yet or enjoy a softer way to exercise outdoors.
  • Resistance Bands – Good for providing the extra grip and resistance needed for the more intense workouts outdoors.
  • Jump Rope – An excellent tool for warm-up exercises and getting your heart rate up.
  • Hand Weights – Small hand weights to use while walking can help build endurance and strength.
  • Sunscreen – While not exercise equipment it can be essential. Feel the burn without feeling the burn
  • Water Bottle – It is essential to stay hydrated when outdoors to avoid the heat and keep healthy.


When it comes to keeping a fitness routine from getting too boring, there are few things as effective as nature. Brainstorm ideas for your next outside workout by spending some time exploring the natural world around you and using what is available to get in your workout. Whether you head out into the great outdoors or find inspiration at your local park, it is fun to explore how many different ways you can work on your physical health through green exercise. 

Sharing is caring!