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Outdoor Ideas for Group Fitness

author image Linda Basilicato
Linda Basilicato has been writing food and lifestyle articles since 2005 for newspapers and online publications such as eHow.com. She graduated magna cum laude from Stony Brook University in New York and also holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from the University of Montana.
Outdoor Ideas for Group Fitness
Use team-building games, such as rope climbs, to make outdoor group fitness fun. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

The Scranton Times Tribune reports that the typical American spends 90 percent of his life indoors -- a habit that tends to correlate with sedentary behavior. Often, just spending time outside results in higher activity. Kids, for example, are twice as active outside as inside, and most people report higher activity levels during the warmer months. Spending time outside also improves concentration, healing, breathing and mental well-being. A few activity ideas can help you enjoy exercising outside with others.

Team-Building Exercises

Schools, camps and businesses use team-building exercises to build camaraderie, increase cooperation and improve problem-solving skills. Many team-building games emphasize physical skills, such as climbing, throwing, jumping and running. For a group fitness program, choose games that require sustained periods of aerobic activity or target certain muscles. Examples include jump rope games, climbing wall challenges, tag variations and balance activities. Team-building games, because they tend to require mental effort as well as physical, may help some participants maintain interest in the exercise program.

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Adventure Sports

Make group fitness more exciting by planning an active outdoor adventure. This could be a whitewater kayaking class, canoe and kayak expedition, mountain or road biking excursion, outdoor rock climbing lessons or a challenging hike. If you facilitate a long-term group fitness program, you could use these adventures as an active reward that reinforces wellness themes. Intermittent outings that are physically challenging may also show participants how much their efforts are paying off.

Circuit Workouts

Use a park, field or other suitable space to create an outdoor circuit workout. Focus on whole-body conditioning or create a variety of workouts that alternately target strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, agility, sports skills or particular areas of the body. Circuit workouts allow group members to proceed at their own skill level, which may help keep everyone interested. Bringing such training outside provides targeted focus without that hamster-on-a-wheel feeling some people experience inside the gym. You will, however, have to make creative use of playground equipment, fences, steps and other existing features in the place you choose. Consider parks that have equipment stations set up along a path or pack a bag of lightweight equipment, such as resistance bands, balls, rope and small cones.

Traditional Sports

Try using traditional sports, such as basketball, softball, soccer or ultimate Frisbee to provide a less structured group fitness activity. The benefit here is that the exercise will feel more like play. On the downside, more talented athletes may take over the game and prevent weaker players from getting a good workout. Alternatively, you could borrow drill activities for these sports to create a more targeted workout that is also fun.

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