Winter is coming in just a few weeks and now is the time to take a day off the gym to try something new and, hopefully, shed some fat before the winter.

To help you get started, here are six outdoor exercises you can do today

1. Play ball.

Take your friends and play some ball, be it basketball, baseball or soccer. Group sports will help you mingle and are better for weight loss than steady-state cardio – One hour of group sports football, soccer, and basketball burns an average of 450 calories.

Group sports —according to studies— have many mental benefits in addition to being fun. Research also found that men worry less when playing soccer or basketball than when they run, and according to this study by Copenhagen University, eight sessions a month of ball playing improved the maximum oxygen uptake, bone mineralization and muscle function of 70-year-old people.

2. Swimming

Just a small look at swimmers will tell you how lean swimming can get you. 

Swimming, like other water-based exercises, is of the best activities to work your entire body – both inside and outside – and it also comes on top of 15 activities believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s since it improves the Cardio-respiratory Fitness (CRF) of both young and old adults. 

Also, indoor swimming helps people with asthma control their breathing and injured people to recover faster. It can also lower your blood pressure and decrease any stroke risks by 50 percent.

3. Hiking

Take your partner and go for a hike. According to Says the psychologist, speaker and bestselling author, Richard Wiseman, “Couples who had spent time engaging in exciting activities such as skiing and hiking were significantly happier with their relationships than those who had been encouraged to carry out pleasant activities like going to the movies or eating out.”

Hiking is also good for one`s creativity. For instance, Stephen King once mentioned in his memoir that part of his writing routine is taking long walks midday to tap into his creative juices. 

This attitude is supported by a 2012 study by the University of Utah whose researchers found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices.

4. Running

If you do most of your cardio work in the gym then now can be the time you replace the treadmill with a nice morning run. Running helps you relax while shedding the weight off your belly. On average, you burn one calorie per minute for every 10 pounds you have – this means 15 calories/minute if you weigh 150 pounds.

Running is also great if you seek to improve your cognition and be mentally tougher. Life is a marathon and running regularly forces you to deal with that nagging voice in your head that keeps telling you to quit.

5. Rowing

Elite rowers have bigger hearts. No, that`s not a metaphor. It`s what a study by the universities of Milan and Naples found in 2008.

 According to Professor Gaetano Lombardi from the University of Naples Federico II, elite rowers develop enlarged, strengthened hearts with bigger cavity dimensions and increased wall thickness compared to sedentary people caused by having higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone secreted by the liver to promote muscle growth.

Rowing also helps you develop a stronger upper body and can help pregnant women reduce back pain since it trains many major muscles including your quads, abs, biceps, obliques, and triceps.

6. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training – HIIT – involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by low-intensity recovery periods. HIIT has many benefits; it can slow down your aging process, help you burn fat, increase your strength and endurance and also, it`s a great time saver.

The easiest form of HIIT is to alternate between walking/jogging and sprinting. Walk for 30-60 seconds then run another 30 to complete a total of 6-8 rounds. If running isn`t your thing, you can mix any moderate-state like pull-ups or push-ups with a high-intense one like Jumping Jacks or rope jumping. For the same number of rounds.

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