Expand your horizons with outdoor activities if you’re stuck in a rut and need a break from routine.
Getting outside throughout the year can help to keep us healthy, happy and motivated. The outdoors offers everything from a mindful pursuit to a core workout, and it’s the perfect option if you’re not a fan of being stuck inside at the gym. Studies from Austria’s University of Innsbruck have shown that the same activity can feel easier outside than in.
From joining a hiking group to rock climbing or kayaking, learning new outdoor skills is a great way to build confidence and have fun. We’ve rounded up the best outdoor activities out there – so if you don’t enjoy the first one you try, you can always give another one a go until you find one that floats your boat.
If you like workouts mixed with adventure and adrenaline, try rock climbing. With the ability to push your heart rate to between 120 and 180 beats per minute, you’ll be surprised how fast you break a sweat, even when moving slowly. Rock climbing is a full-body workout, targeting your core, arms, legs, glutes and back – not to mention your forearms. You’ll do a lot of reaching and stretching from one hold to the next, and that helps to improve flexibility. There are rock-climbing facilities sprouting up in malls, such as Climb Central at Kallang Wave Mall and Velocity@Novena Square. These are usually very beginner-friendly, with some even offering starter courses.
Kayaking is an exhilarating and adventurous way to connect with the great outdoors. Not to be confused with canoeing (which uses a paddle with a blade at one end; kayaking paddles are double-bladed), a session of kayaking will help burn fat, with even a gentle paddle burning up to 140 calories an hour. It also builds strength in the legs, back, shoulders and the muscles that rotate the torso. There’s a common misconception that it’s going to be just an upper-body workout, but with proper technique, you will engage your core, which lets you use your back muscles and abs, improving balance too. Kayaking is a low-impact sport, so it’s kind on joints and great for bone health. Kayaking is also fantastic for mental wellbeing and confidence. According to research published in the Journal of Leisurability, it can lead to increased social skills and an overall boost in self-satisfaction.
Bring out your inner Katniss Everdeen with archery. If you’re feeling stressed, trying to increase your concentration and stamina at work, or simply looking to find an alternative form of meditation, a spot of target practice might be just what you need. Archery is about focus and attention and is a brain-training exercise. You have to get into that rhythm and flow, and not let anything distract you, and because you’re ignoring everything around you, it forces you to slow down and focus on one goal. One session is all it takes to strengthen your arm, back and shoulder muscles, as you repeatedly lift the bow and draw the string.
If you like the idea of walking among the trees, you’ll love the sound of this. There are many places where you can try rope courses, and much like obstacle courses, they make the perfect group activity. A session on a ropes course is likely to leave you a little out of breath, and it’s also a great way to build self-esteem, improve balance and develop cognitive agility. There’s a physical element to it, but it’s more about getting out of your comfort zone – without hitting panic mode. Ropes courses are a great all-round introduction to adventure fitness, and an excellent place to work on your balance, strength and focus. They’re great for groups who want to bond and do something adventurous together, so consider it a fun out-of-the-box weekend activity to enjoy with friends. You can check out similar courses at Forest Adventure’s revamped facility at Bedok Reservoir.
Need even more inspiration? Why not try one of these?
You might not have heard of this exhilarating sport, but it involves hiking, swimming and diving.
If you’re after a thrill, zip-lining lets you reach speeds of more than 100km/h while gliding on a rope suspended high in the air.
Try an extreme outdoor activity in the cold for a change. Try skiing, or snowboarding, to experience the rush of racing downhill. It also strengthens your core and lower body muscles.
Ride the waves while soaking up the salty air of the ocean. Did you know that surfing is among the oldest sports ever? While its precise origin is uncertain, prehistoric stone carvings in Peru, which date back 5,000 years, show people surfing.
There’s quite a scene for mountain biking in Singapore, and many of our nature parks have trails for the sport. This would be a fun activity to do with family and friends, too.
Our tropical climate means no skiing in the snow, but we do have other options available. Cable skiing allows you to ski as you’re being pulled across the water surface, making it a good adrenaline fix even for beginners.
If you enjoy hiking, consider exploring the icy trails of the glaciers and witness nature at its finest on your next vacation. You’ll be guaranteed plenty of Insta-worthy photo opportunities, too.
This not only provides close interaction with marine life, scuba-diving can also lower blood pressure, and help you gain strength and flexibility. Your glimpse of the Coral Triangle is just an Open Water certification away.