Fall 2021 Outdoor Workouts: Fun Exercise Routines for Hikers


It is fall here in Summit County, Colorado and I am not ready to exercise inside yet! I have complied 3 fun outdoor workout’s for fall 2021 to keep the energy up that do not require anything but your bodyweight and a love for the outdoors. These are exercises for hikers but any outdoor enthusiast will appreciate them.

As a ski instructor and outdoor enthusiast with a back ground in exercise science I have been contemplating a lot lately about using hiking as a modality to fitness year round. I am not ready to dry the hiking boots out yet…we still have at least a few weeks of colorful foliage, trails, and hiking/camping adventures. I have 3 well designed workouts listed here that target lower body strength to prevent knee pain, mobility for the whole body, and a cardio burst styled workout to keep your body and mind motivated on the trail this fall.

Fall 2021 Outdoor Workouts: Exercise for Hikers

The first workout is all about glute activation to prevent knee pain (read the entire article here Bodyweight Workout for Hiking: Exercises to Prevent Knee Pain). This is a body weight muscular strength workout targeting the lower body.

Learning how to activate the glutes and strengthen the lower body is obviously imperative for successful hiking adventures as well as strength in daily life (think lifting groceries, cleaning your home/yard, and overall healthy lifestyle).

Follow along with my quick video explanation of outdoor exercises for knee pain prevention here:

Recommended: 20 reps of each exercise, 3 to 7 sets (depending on fitness level & goal) if you are new just try 3 rounds!

The second workout targets strength and mobility for the entire body. Bone and joint function are equally important to train for as muscles – although not as often talked about in popular social channels. This workout is not a slow flow (think your favorite yoga class) but rather body work in and around the major joints in our body while having to do muscular work. When we use our joints, synovial fluid is released which is the “lubrication” between our cartilage and bone. If you decrease movement you will decrease the bodies production of that fluid. This mobility workout is perfect to keep hikers motivated and feeling strong yet loose on trail this fall.

Recommendation: 20 reps, 3 to 5 sets (depending on fitness level & goals).

The third workout is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) modeled program. This modality of exercise is popular for a reason – less time, while achieving muscular and cardiovascular results. I love to incorporate a small HIIT session in with my daily hike with my dog Honey – I might look a little funny to any passerby’s but it is worth it! A short session of HIIT makes me feel good – remember some is better than none. Check out the 10 minute fall HIIT workout I created and enjoy working out OUTSIDE!

Recommendation: 10 reps each exercise, 4 – 6 sets NO REST to keep heart rate up.

What makes an ideal outdoor workout? I have delineated what works well in my mind for a good outdoor workout.

  • Easy to memoize (so you do not need a phone to watch the movements)
  • Bodyweight only (no materials needed)
  • Effective for your goals
  • Whole body movement incorporated (if you are doing outdoor recreational sports like me – most of those activities like hiking, biking and skiing require my whole body, thus I want my exercises to incorporate whole body balance)
  • Fun and confidence inspiring (sometimes I feel silly working out in a campground or even off the side of the trail but being outside does evoke the most confident version of myself and so I keep my head up and get it done!)

I hope you have a wonderful Fall and are motivated to try working out outside! Let me know if you try exercising outside and how it went. Was it fun? Successful – yes or no? I recommend trying all three of these workouts mixed in with your typical weekly routine and see how it goes. Thanks for reading & check back soon – Emily.


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