5 Fun Outdoor Adventures You Can Train for at the Gym

man and woman riding bikes through a grassy field
Pushing yourself on a stationary bike is good practice for replicating the open road conditions you'll encounter with your bicycle.

by Steven Auger

With the return of warmer weather, it's now the season to enjoy some fun outdoor adventures — but prepping for these excursions can sometimes be challenging. Between the long workdays, a tiring commute home and everything else that pops up during the week, it's easy to feel sluggish by the time the weekend rolls around and you finally have time to adventure.

Fortunately, the gym provides a sanctuary where you can stay active, enjoy some evening workouts and prep for the hiking and biking excursions that accompany the arrival of spring weather. Here are five outdoor adventures you can replicate in the gym (to help you stay active during the week) so you're feeling energized and motivated by the weekend.

1. Hiking

Hiking is a fun and useful way to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors. If you can't catch enough daylight after work to prep for your weekend hike, be sure to log plenty of steps on your gym's stair climber.

As noted by Self Magazine, a stair climber provides a good workout while also exercising the lower body muscles that you'll need for hiking. Once the weekend arrives, you'll be ready to conquer your local trails.

2. Road Races

Beautiful weather? Cue, running season. If you're gearing up for a road race, it's important to train regularly. But between unpredictable weather patterns and waning daylight, it can be tough to find the time to run outdoors. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for hitting the road indoors.

For many runners, the treadmill is a good alternative when the temperature drops or rain starts to fall. While nothing will completely mimic outdoor running conditions, treadmills allow you to adjust the speed and incline at which you run. Elliptical machines can also help you keep your heart rate up during colder months.

3. Bike Riding

Come spring, there's nothing like a long bike ride to help you get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Bike riders feel the same way about getting back in the saddle after a long winter layoff as runners do about pounding the pavement. Most gyms offer a great solution.

You can almost always find stationary bikes in the cardio section of a gym. Using these machines, you're able to adjust everything about the ride, including your speed, resistance, distance and time. Pushing yourself on a stationary bike is good practice for replicating the open road conditions you'll encounter with your bicycle once you're back on the road.

4. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an outdoor activity that appeals to the more adventurous folks in the crowd. While using suitable safety gear is paramount for climbers, so is proper training for the sport.

Pull-ups are one exercise to incorporate into your routine if you're looking to hone your climbing skills, Climbing Magazine notes. Correctly executed pull-ups can work your back, shoulders, arms and core. Climbing strength will also come in handy for rope climbs on obstacle courses.

5. Obstacle Courses

Speaking of obstacle courses, they're another popular activity that can double as a solid workout. If you enjoy some healthy competition and you're into outdoor obstacle course races like mud runs, you might want to start practicing those burpees. Some obstacle courses use the exercise as a penalty for failing to complete (or altogether skipping) an obstacle.

The beauty of burpees — if there is such a thing — is that they help build your endurance, according to Men's Fitness. That will be crucial to your success in completing an obstacle race, especially if it is run during the hot, summer months.

If you're short on time, the weather isn't cooperating or you simply can't seem to get outside to prep for one of your favorite fun outdoor adventures, you certainly can still train for them. As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.