Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Women Who Are Active
Having an active lifestyle comes with a myriad of benefits that encompass both the body and the mind. If you’re like us, we prefer for those active hours to happen outside as much as possible. Whether you hike, bike, run, or row, there’s just something special about being active in nature!
However, it’s not always possible to get outside as much as we want. Mother Nature tends to have a mind of her own, with storms and temperatures that make it difficult to spend time outdoors. In addition, busy work commitments or hectic family schedules filled with practices and school functions to work around can make it difficult to prioritize outdoor adventures.
So how do you stay motivated and keep up with your outdoor fitness goals when you’re stuck inside? We’re here to help by listing the benefits of an active lifestyle (because we all need that reminder sometimes) along with some ideas and tips for staying active both outdoors and indoors.
We finish it off with a guide of the best gifts for outdoorsy women in your life full of items that promote staying active, regardless of whether that happens outside or inside.
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- Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Women Who Are Active
- Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
- Indoor Workout Options to Improve Your Active Outdoor Lifestyle
- Tips for Staying Active – Inside and Outside
- Products We Love for Keeping Active Both Inside and Outside
- Staying Active Both Indoors and Out
- Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Women Who Are Active
Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
You’ve heard that exercise is good for you, but you may be surprised by some of the benefits you reap from staying active. Here are a few of the many ways that staying active can make you happier and healthier today.
Regular exercise can help decrease anxiety and ease depression. As you exercise, your brain is releasing endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that help to produce positive feelings. It can also relieve feelings of depression by increasing the brain’s sensitivity to the feel-good hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.
Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Various studies have shown that inactivity can lead to weight gain and a decrease in metabolism. Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, which can help you burn more calories and turn your food into energy rather than storing it as fat. This leads to weight loss or maintenance, especially when paired with a healthy diet.
Reduced Risk of Health Conditions and Diseases
Regular exercise can lead to decreased insulin resistance, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It can also improve heart health and body composition. These benefits lead to a reduced risk of health issues such as hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and many types of cancer (including breast, prostate, and lung cancers).
While it may sound counterintuitive, there are various ways that staying active can increase energy levels. Aerobic exercise boosts the cardiovascular system by stimulating your heart to pump more blood, delivering more oxygen to your working muscles. Over time, this process becomes more efficient, which in turn makes your muscles more effective and everyday actions easier to perform as energy is used more efficiently.
As you continue to stay active, your lung health improves, making exercise and everyday activities less demanding on your lungs. Add this to the boost you get from the release of exercise-induced hormones, and the result is more energy left over for whatever life may throw your way.
As parents, it can be hard to get enough sleep each day. Whether you’re up in the night with your baby or you have a tendency to go to bed late to get some much needed me-time, many of us don’t get the recommended 8 hours a night. While exercise may not allow us to get more sleep, it can improve sleep quality and help us fall asleep faster (including getting back to sleep following a late-night feeding or comfort session).
Indoor Workout Options to Improve Your Active Outdoor Lifestyle
When you add in a healthy dose of nature, these benefits are amplified. However, we know it’s not always possible to get outside as often as we want. Whether the weather makes outdoor activities dangerous, or your busy schedule (or sleeping children) makes getting outside difficult, you may need to resort to indoor exercise options. Here are a few indoor options that can help improve your outdoor life as well.
Cardio equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, etc. allow you to continue to train or enjoy your favorite outdoor activities even when you can’t get outdoors. I like to use the stair climbers and treadmills set to an incline at the gym to help improve my hiking endurance when I can’t hit the trail.
Some equipment (such as the Peloton stationary bikes) have an option for scenic rides or runs so you can still feel immersed in nature when you’re stuck inside.
We rely on our core muscles far more than we realize. They support and stabilize the rest of our body during movement. As we work hard, whether during a long mountain climb or a hard ride or run, our fatigued extremities shift the burden to the core to keep us stable.
A weak core can lead to instability and more stress on the rest of the body. Check out this post for some of the best core exercises to improve your strength and stability.
Whether you use free weights, weighted machines at the gym, or simply your body weight, improving your overall strength improves your ability to perform outdoors. Stronger leg muscles improve your ability to hike, run, or bike longer distances.
A stronger upper body allows you to shoulder that heavy pack (or kiddo) or row that extra kilometer on the river. Check out this post for some killer strength exercises we love.
In general, interval training alternates short bursts of intense exercise with a recovery period (think High-Intensity Interval Training or Tabata). This training provides a more anaerobic workout and exercises the heart muscles to improve cardiovascular health.
It can result in higher stamina and faster speed for runners, bikers, and hikers alike. It’s also a great option if you are short on time since these workouts tend to be quick. You can find numerous HIIT and other interval training videos for free on YouTube and other platforms.
A strong yoga practice can benefit just about every aspect of your outdoor fitness. It improves flexibility and range of motion, which can help prevent injury. It increases balance and core strength, which provides stability to prevent falls.
It also promotes full body strength to improve performance on the trail. Following an intense workout, yoga helps relax the body and mind to help you center yourself. You can find a variety of free and paid yoga options online including one of my favorites, Yoga with Adrienne, on YouTube, or find a yoga class or studio to attend near you.
Tips for Staying Active – Inside and Outside
Make it a Family Affair
Whether you go for a family hike or practice some yoga indoors, including the whole family not only ensures you get a workout in but also serves as family bonding time. For outdoor options, family hikes/walks, bike rides, kayaking, skiing, etc. are great options. Baby carriers, jogging strollers, and bike attachments make bringing your baby along for outdoor adventures a no-brainer!
For indoor options, you can find free family-friendly workouts online, with platforms such as GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids Yoga, and YouTube. When all else fails, just throw on some music and have an impromptu dance party in the kitchen! When your kids see you staying active, it helps promote healthy habits that will serve them well as they grow older.
Find a Time that Works for You
I struggled last year with trying to make consistent exercise work for me, especially when getting outdoors wasn’t always an option. I discovered that it was extremely difficult to find the motivation to exercise if I waited until after my boys went to bed. Naptime didn’t work either since I homeschool my oldest at that time. I finally succumbed to the fact that early morning was my only real option.
Once I committed to waking up early, it became part of my routine, and I felt so much better for it! Find a time that works well for you (even if it means being unable to hit the snooze button 5 times) and commit to it. You won’t regret it!
Schedule it in
If you rely on a schedule or planner as much as I do, you may benefit from this tip. As you schedule out your week, include exercise time for you or your family. This could be jotting down group exercise classes at your local gym, family hikes you squeeze in, or simply a “post-dinner neighborhood bike ride” reminder. Having it on paper serves as a constant reminder to make exercise a priority.
Find a Way to Stay Accountable
This will look different for everyone. You may have a friend or family member that joins you at the gym or via zoom for an at-home sweat session. Some may join a hiking or fitness group that meets at local parks in your area each week (such as Hike it Baby or FitMom).
Others rely on online challenges that provide incentives (such as a cool medal or virtual prize) for reaching your goals. Whatever your goal may be, find a way to keep yourself accountable.
Find a Family-Friendly Gym
If the gym is your thing, find one that allows you to bring the kids. This could be a location that offers child care while you work out, a place that offers children’s classes while you take a group class, or one that allows the kiddos to be right alongside you. Some popular options are local rec centers, YMCA’s (many offer both childcare and children’s classes), climbing gyms, etc.
Online Exercise Videos
The amount of online exercise content is truly astounding. Many fitness companies and instructors have free content on their YouTube channels (Yoga with Adrienne and PopSugar are a few of my favorites). Others have a paid subscription that gives you access to thousands of videos featuring almost any workout you can think of (BeachBody and Pelaton are two popular options).
Make the Time for Solo or Adult-only Active Outings
This can be a tough one, but it can be so refreshing to take that time to focus on yourself amidst the craziness of parenting. For my husband and I, this means we each get at least one day a month to go on an adventure with other adult friends. I like to go on a “coffee and hike” date with a few mom friends where we can catch up and enjoy an adult pace, while he prefers mountain biking with work colleagues. We also try to splurge for a daytime sitter occasionally so we can have a couple’s adventure.
Products We Love for Keeping Active Both Inside and Outside
Whether you’re participating in your favorite outdoor sports and exercises or getting your sweat on indoors, these products will keep you at the top of your game (even when chasing the kids).
These tops from lululemon are great for indoor workouts as well as layering under your cool-weather gear for outdoor adventures.
This super lightweight long-sleeve is perfect for running and training indoors or out. It uses Silverescent™ technology to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria and the synthetic fabric effectively wicks away moisture, keeping you fresh and comfortable. It even has minimal seams to reduce chafing when working hard. I love this shirt for everything from indoor yoga to chilly trail runs.
Cool-weather hikes may start chilly, but they tend to get sweaty pretty quickly. This lightweight hiking shirt is a great option when you start building up heat and need to remove your mid-layer. It wicks away sweat and drys fast. The drawcord at the hem allows you to control airflow and trap in heat when the breeze picks up. The hidden zippered pocket is a nice touch so you can stow away your keys or card.
Whether you’re hitting the gym for some sweaty cardio or looking for a tank to layer under your long sleeve for chilly runs, this tank top is a great addition to your workout wardrobe. The seamless construction eliminates chafing while the lightweight synthetic material wicks away moisture to keep you comfortable.
Bottoms – Tights and Leggings
Finding quality bottoms can be tough. lululemon takes the guesswork out of choosing bottoms that fit your needs by offering various lengths and sizes, while also including some cool features (like hidden pockets) to keep your essentials protected.
These Leggings have easily become my favorite for practicing yoga, early morning rides on my stationary bike, and chilly, easy hikes with my kiddos. The Nulu™ fabric is buttery soft, breathable, lightweight, and wicks away sweat. The added pockets are deep enough that I don’t have to worry about losing my keys or phone, and the high waist stays in place no matter which way I bend.
These tights allow you to stay comfortable while training hard. The Everlux™ fabric dries super quick and is highly breathable, keeping you cool when your workout gets intense. The side drop-in pockets keep your essentials in check and the drawcord at the waist ensures these pants stay in place no matter how vigorous your workout gets.
The fabric on the Wunder Train Tights is super soft while staying cool to the touch. The Everlux™ fabric easily wicks sweat and dries fast so you can transition from workout to errands without feeling too grimy. The waistband drawcord keeps them in place, and the hidden waistband pocket fits your card and keys. These tights come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, which is a huge bonus!
Bottoms – Joggers and Shorts
These joggers are surprisingly flexible, with added Lycra® fiber for a truly four-way stretch. The zippered pockets are deep enough to store your phone and essentials, and the zippered cuffs make them easy to get on and off quickly. The quick-drying material came in handy when I got caught out in the rain, which led to an impromptu puddle stomp with my kiddos.
These shorts are great for activities such as hot yoga, indoor rock climbing, and low-impact exercise. They are made with the breathable, buttery soft Nulu™ fabric that feels weightless while still wicking sweat. They won’t ride up or roll down, no matter what position you may find yourself in.
If you are looking for a jogger that will keep you warm during chilly outdoor workouts, these pants are for you. They are made with a merino wool blend, complete with an engineered knit that creates a 3D texture for added warmth. The four-way stretch fabric increases your range of motion, and the zippered pockets secure your essentials.
Adding a Layer of Warmth
Brave the chill with these mid-layers from lululemon. They stretch in all the right ways to provide full range of motion, no matter where your adventure takes you.
This pullover is soft, warm, and breathable. The extra features make this the perfect chilly-weather layer for outdoor fitness. The sleeves offer both thumb holes and Cuffins™ that slip over the hands to keep hands warm. There are strategically placed reflective details to keep you seen, and the discreet zippered pocket is large enough to keep your card and keys safe. As an added bonus, the No-Stink Zinc™ treatment helps inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the fabric.
This comfortable, warm mid-layer keeps you warm while still allowing you to move freely. I love that it’s long enough to cover your bum and includes a hood to keep you cozy when the breeze picks up. The thumbholes and deep pockets keep hands protected, and the ribbed panels at the sides and under the arms increase mobility.
Whether you are out for a morning run, needing an extra layer for a cooler hike, or simply walking around town, this jacket will keep you comfortable. It includes mesh back ventilation to help you regulate body temperature during rigorous activities and the material wicks away moisture to keep you from getting chilled during cool-down. The thumbholes and sleeve cuffs keep your fingers warm and the secure front pockets keep your essentials from falling out.
Keep your ears and hands toasty warm with these stylish and functional accessories from lululemon.
This fleece-lined beanie is super cozy to help keep you warm on those cold winter outings. The fleece lining is super soft and breathable, while the outer layer blend of merino wool, organic cotton, cashmere, and synthetic materials keeps you warm and cozy. Did I mention that it’s machine washable?
Keep your fingers warm with these fleece-lined, insulated gloves. The tech-friendly fingers allow you to use your devices without removing your gloves, and the silicone print provides excellent grip. The fabric on the back is also water-repellent to protect your hands on chilly, wet outings.
Say no to frosty ears with this ear warmer made with a blend of Merino Wool, soft cotton, and synthetic materials. It even doubles as an eye mask thanks to the contoured shape and thoughtfully placed stitch pattern. Two products in one? Yes, please!
Having limited space doesn’t have to keep you from working out. Check out these equipment options that help you stay active without taking up too much of your indoor space.
The mat you choose for your yoga practice or sweat session can make a huge difference in your performance and comfort. This reversible mat gives you a choice between the grippy top layer that absorbs moisture and the natural rubber layer that provides a little extra cushion. It even includes an antimicrobial additive to help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
If your workout space is as limited as mine, you don’t have a ton of room to store free weights in various sizes. Instead of purchasing multiple different sets, this adjustable dumbbell set lets you easily change the weight from 3-24 pounds per hand in seconds. The padded handle provides a comfortable grip and helps protect your wrist regardless of how much weight you are lifting.
I had to include my beloved Peloton bike on this list because it has truly been a game-changer for our family. I love being able to clip in and ride any time I want without worrying about waking up or disturbing my kiddos or spouse (it’s ridiculously quiet). We can easily adjust between riders, and the resistance knob gives you manual control to adjust your workout without missing a beat.
It comes with a few classes and the “Just Ride” feature included. If you subscribe to the Peloton All-Access Membership (one membership for the whole family), you gain access to a huge library of content for everything from spin classes on your bike screen to cardio and yoga classes on the app.
Feeling the pain after a tough workout? Here are a few recovery products to help you ease sore muscles and stretch out stiff areas.
Foam rollers can be a huge asset for relieving muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation following a tough workout. This double roller allows you to tailor your experience to your needs, with the exterior roller providing relief for your legs and arms and the interior roller relieving tension in your back.
Whether you’re stretching things out following a workout or practicing yoga, this strap will take your stretches even deeper and increase your range of motion. The padding provides comfort, and the built-in loops allow you to adjust for your specific flexibility needs.
This portable handheld massager is a surprisingly powerful, nearly silent tool with an ergonomic design that provides relief wherever you go. You can throw it in your gym bag or even take it with you on your travels (it is TSA-approved in your carry-on).
The different heads can help you target sources of fatigue and stiffness, help loosen muscle knots, or massage away stress and tension. Use before or after a workout (or following a day of wrangling your kiddos on an outdoor adventure).
Staying Active Both Indoors and Out
Staying active is important. The health benefits alone are enough to convince us to make it a priority, regardless of where it happens. This list of products we love from lululemon and other companies will help the woman in your life stay comfortable and motivated, whether she finds herself exercising outdoors or inside.
- Get Outside with lululemon
- At Home Workouts for Moms Who Go Outside
- Best Hiking Gear for Women
- Gift Guides for Outdoor Families
Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Women Who Are Active
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