The Best (and Most Fun) Outdoor Workouts -- How Many Have You Tried?

Research shows that as little as five minutes of exercise in the great outdoors -- that is, exercise done in nature -- improves mental health and reduces stress. Try one of these workouts to burn calories and have some fun (16 Photos)

Hilary Walke on May 24, 2013 at 12:54PM

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The Best (and Most Fun) Outdoor Workouts -- How Many Have You Tried?

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One of the best total body workouts, swimming works every major muscle group in the body. It improves cardiovascular health and tones muscles, plus it's easy on joints. “One great thing about swimming -- or any water exercise -- is that you don't realize how hard you're working. That translates into a higher intensity workout (a greater calorie burn) than you'll get on land because the water is cooling and decreases your rate of perceived exertion,” says fitness instructor and Spark People’s Coach Nicole Nichols. And it could extend your life -- a study by the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education found that swimming can cut your mortality rate by as much as 50 percent compared with running or walking.

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