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Easy Ways to Spend More Time Outside

Posted by Megan Olson | Jul 20, 2022 1:05:18 PM

There is nothing like a stretch of summer sunshine to inspire Alaskans to venture outside. For some, it’s difficult to transition to new routines and new outdoor options. I get it! You like your gym routine, don’t want to get dirty, don’t have the right shoes/equipment … trust me, I have said all those things and more to talk myself out of going, but over time I have realized that there are just so many ways to get after it in Alaska and summers are short, so we must take advantage of every opportunity. Despite the good weather, motivation can still be an issue, and I also hear you on that one. I polled my family and some friends for recommended strategies and outings for these warmer temps.

  • Grab your dog (or your friend’s dog) – never reluctant for some outdoor time with you; dogs are the best motivators in my experience
  • Grab a friend or two – a walk together is one of my favorite ways to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and they are also a great way to get to know someone new
  • Explore podcasts – there are so many great ones, and many of them have new episodes every week. You can learn, laugh, and escape for a little while with smart Be sure only to put one earbud in your ears so you can remain aware of who and what is around you at all times.
  • Get a Fitbit or watch that counts your steps – having a goal and measuring quantifiable progress toward that goal is huge.


The thing I always say to myself when I am on the fence about going or not going to work out…. “You will never ever regret having done it, and you always feel better after you’ve been outside for fresh air and movement.”


Seriously, I have always felt happier and more resilient after even the briefest (about 30 mins) of outdoor exercise. It doesn’t need to be intense, either. A walk around a lake, or around your neighborhood, a walk uphill, or a short bike ride all helps keep you moving and can help you feel recharged physically and mentally.


These outdoor activities are free, fun, and accessible to everyone, whether you are in tip-top shape… or aspiring to get there.

  • Go for a hike – the mountains are a gift with trails for all ages and abilities all over Alaska. I live in Anchorage, and my favorite source for hike/trail running ideas is “55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral, AK.” Alternatively, the “All Trails” app provides great guidance wherever you are in AK and anywhere else.
  • Bike ride – on any of the multi-use trails around town or in your neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but you can find a great workout on any of our trails. This is my favorite family activity. Even with our different abilities and speeds, we always have fun together on bikes.
  • Yoga/stretching session outside – The only way to ensure you can stay active is to make sure you are caring for your body in between workouts, too. I will admit that stretching is drudgery to me, but if I can do it on the warm grass in the sun, count me in. The Alaska Club’s Yoga in the Park in Anchorage and Fairbanks is a fantastic option during the summer months. I have even gotten my husband out there on a mat and made a date night out of it with dinner afterward. Win, win!


Whatever you do, get out and do it. The strength training you may have focused on indoors all winter will likely have you feeling stronger, more balanced, and better able to navigate our variable trails and hills, too.


I exercise regularly year-round though admittedly, there is less intensity to my “program” during the winter months when I am as happy curled up on the couch with my dog and kids watching a movie. I have learned over time that skiing, running, and even winter hiking are made much more enjoyable when my muscles are toned and when I do actually keep up with a workout routine.  


I look forward to seeing you outside this summer!

Topics: fitness, summer hiking, outdoors, aerobic exercise, Outdoor Fitness, healthy lifestyles, summer

Written by Megan Olson

Megan Olson moved to Alaska in 2001 and fell in love with Alaska. She is married to Brad Olson and has three amazing kids: Gus (15), Henry (14) and Lucy (12). She is an executive communication leader and served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement UAA. Megan recently "retired" from her position at UAA to spend more time with her family. Megan enjoys running in the mountains with friends in her spare time, reading, and cooking/entertaining.

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