During summer, many of us want to spend more time outside, making the most of what nature has to offer.

So whether you’re looking to get stuck into some energetic exercise, or simply want to catch up with friends while getting some vitamin D, here are 10 activities that you can do outdoors.

1. Try a mindfulness walk

If you’re getting bored of your regular walking route and want to change things up a bit, you might like to give mindful walking a go.

Going for a mindfulness walk is a very different experience from regular walking. It’s a great way to restore your sense of clarity and focus. It can also help to boost your mood, alleviate stress and anxiety, and clear your mind of clutter.

Mindful walking is all about noticing how your body feels as you stroll – paying attention to your sensory experiences, and bringing awareness back to your body and surroundings.

As you walk, focus on how your legs, arms, and feet feel as you move into your next stride. Think about your senses – what can you smell, hear, see, and feel? – and notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. You can read more about how mindfulness works in our introduction to mindfulness.

A mindful walk can help you appreciate the small things that we often overlook or take for granted – for example, the feel of the sun on our face or the smell of freshly cut grass.

If you’d like some guidance on your mindful walk, you could listen to a 10-minute walking meditation on the Mindful website, or download the walking meditation on the Headspace app (which you can enjoy using their free trial). There are many different ways to bring the body and mind together, and you might find that walking works well for you.

If you’d like to try a different type of walk but feel mindful walking might not be for you, you can find plenty of other ideas to try, including Nordic walking and historical walks, in our article; 10 different types of walk to enjoy this summer.

2. Go for a cycle

One of the best things about cycling is that it can be made as gentle or as intense as you like. You can spend the day cycling steep mountain terrain and pushing yourself to your limits, or enjoy a relaxed cycle as a way to unwind.

Cycling is also an outdoor activity that’s as fun as it is beneficial. It works out all of the major muscle groups, can help build strength and stamina, improves joint mobility, and can even reduce anxiety and depression.

There are many different ways you can enjoy cycling. You could become a tourist in your own town by cycling along routes popular with tour groups and stopping to admire local landmarks along the way.

Or you could head out to the countryside for a day of cycling along winding country roads (just remember to pack plenty of water). You can even use cycling as a way to socialise if you choose to go for a cycle with a friend!

If you haven’t cycled for a while and want to get into it, have a read of our beginner’s guide to cycling. Alternatively, if you’re already quite experienced, you might be interested in some of these 9 beautiful cycle routes across the UK.

3. Stand up paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding is one of the most popular aquatic activities around, and for good reason.

It’s low-impact and suitable for all ages and abilities. From a health perspective alone, stand up paddleboarding can improve balance, coordination, and posture, reduce backaches, increase muscle and bone strength – and it’s also excellent for physical rehabilitation.

Some people also find that stand up paddleboarding is an effective way to overcome stress and anxiety, and to feel present in beautiful, natural surroundings. You don’t need to be based near the coast to take advantage either – paddleboarding can be enjoyed on rivers, lakes, and canals.

It can take a short while to get the hang of stand up paddleboarding, but despite its name, you don’t actually have to stand up to enjoy it. Many people prefer to sit or kneel on the board, and slowly work their way up to standing.

If you’d like to take a lesson, you can find your nearest paddleboard centre on the Go Paddling website.

Alternatively, you could buy your own board on Amazon. Or, if you’d prefer to get a taste for the sport before making a commitment, you can even hire a board and have it delivered to your door!

4. Go on a photowalk

If you’d like to spend time improving your photography skills, why not think about going for a photowalk?

Combining walking with taking photos is a fun and effective way of promoting both physical and mental health. You may even find that being exposed to changing scenery boosts your sense of creativity, and experiencing different places through your viewfinder will help you to hone your photography skills and pick up new ideas.

How you go about your photowalk is entirely up to you. You could pre-plan your route in advance, or let your feet and instinct roam free and go where your natural compass leads you. If you want to plan your route, you might like to consider using the AllTrails app. Simply enter the name of your city, local area or park, and it suggests beautiful trails you can follow, allowing you to explore the great outdoors with confidence.

On a sunny day, sometimes the hours can just slip away as you stroll around, camera in hand. You can take photos of anything that inspires you – for example, a bridge over a river, a flock of birds in the sky, or a bright red phone box.

At the end of your photowalk, you’ll probably have a clearer mind and a brighter mood – and, of course, you’ll have snapped some lovely mementoes of your day too.

To help you get the most out of your photowalk, you might like to have a read of our beginner’s guide to photography, or our advice on how to take better pictures on your phone.

5. Get into gardening

Gardening is something everyone can enjoy. Whether you have your own outdoor space or not, all you really need to get going are some pots and a window sill.

For inspiration on growing plants in small spaces, you might like to have a read of our article; 10 things you can grow in a window box at home.

Growing your own plants doesn’t only improve your wellbeing and environment, it can also save you money on your food bill. Keeping your loved ones supplied with fresh fruit or vegetables is enormously gratifying.

Plus, gardening counts as exercise, so you can soak up some sunshine, get some exercise, and enjoy the rewards of watching things grow all at the same time.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you’ll be spoilt for choice of things you can grow. But with a bit of preparation, even the smallest spaces can be adapted to grow vegetables and fresh herbs.

For more information, you might like to have a read of our articles; 9 tips for gardening in small spaces and 10 things you can grow in a window box at home.

Head over to the gardening section of our website for more inspiration.

6. Build a birdhouse and get birdwatching

Birdwatching is a favourite pastime for many people, and it’s a wonderfully relaxing way to enjoy being outdoors.

If you’d like to attract more wildlife to your garden (or balcony), why not consider making a birdhouse? According to the RSPB, there just aren’t enough natural holes and hideaways where wildlife can find shelter. So, building your own birdhouse is a great way to help small birds like sparrows thrive.

Plus, if you have grandchildren, feeding birds can be a fun way to enthuse them about wildlife.

Buying a birdhouse can be expensive, but making your own isn’t – and it’s an enjoyable and relaxing way to spend a sunny day. You don’t have to be good at DIY to make a birdhouse. In fact, some birdhouses can be made without hammering a single nail.

For inspiration, you might like to take a look at some of these different types of birdhouse. There’s something to suit every ability – from simple birdhouses made from a hanging, dried gourd to bird ‘mansions’ that will be the talk of the street. Once you’ve made the birdhouse, you can then buy some bird seed and watch the birds come and go all year.

You may also want to download ChirpOMAtic; a great bird-watching app that allows you to identify birds by their individual song for free. It’s available on both Android and iOS and is easy to use. You simply record the birdsong and it tells you which birds are singing in your garden!

For more information about how to get started with birdwatching and the types of birds to look out for, check out our beginner’s guide to birdwatching.

7. Kayaking

If you want to get out on the water but aren’t sure that standup paddleboarding is for you, why not consider kayaking?

Usually easier to master than paddleboarding, kayaking is great exercise and helps strengthen your upper body, legs, and core. Paddling gently across a lake is also a fine way to enjoy some peace and quiet while soaking up some natural beauty.

If you’d like some kayaking guidance, you could take a lesson at your local kayaking centre. Or, if you’d prefer to kayak independently, you can simply hire kayaking equipment for a day or half-day. You’ll need a licence if you want to kayak on inland waterways like rivers and canals, although lakes are fine to kayak on freely.

You can treat kayaking as fitness and aim to get some vigorous paddling in, or as a relaxing pastime and just enjoy paddling under the sun. Our beginner’s guide to kayaking can help you get started if you’ve never tried it before.

And if you’re a bit of a thrillseeker, you might want to look into trying white water kayaking once you’ve got enough experience in. You can find some of the best kayaking routes in the UK on the Activity Fan website.

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8. Get artistic outside

Artistic pursuits like drawing and painting are hugely beneficial for our minds. So why not get creative while also getting some sunshine and fresh air? Many of the most famous artists in the world were inspired by nature, so you might like to head outside to see if inspiration strikes.

If you have a garden, you could sit down with a sketchbook and see what takes your fancy. From colourful flowers to cats lazing in the sun, there’s likely to be a wealth of attractive scenes to draw. You can find out more about how to get started with drawing in our article; Learn how to draw.

If you don’t have an outdoor space, heading to your local park or city square on a sunny day is a good alternative.

Or, if drawing doesn’t excite you, perhaps you’ll be more enthused about painting. Many of us haven’t painted since childhood, and getting back into this creative pastime can be extremely enjoyable, as well as meditative.

Painting outside is known as en plein air, and it’s a great way to get in touch with your creative vision and truly immerse yourself in your subject. Just pack a travel easel and some portable paints – or go even simpler, and just bring a sketchpad, some pastel crayons, and your sense of creativity.

9. Go camping

If you’d like to get away from it all for a few days, why not plan a camping trip?

Getting back to nature is a chance to appreciate some of the simple things in life – the warmth of a campfire, a cold drink in the sun, the smell of grilled food.  You could head to your local campsite, travel further afield for a staycation, or even camp in your garden! It could do you the world of good.

There are camping options for every personality and budget. You can ‘rough it’ in a simple tent under the stars, go glamping in a yurt, or even stay in a motorhome.

For more inspiration on where to take your camping trip, you might like to have a read of our articles; 10 of the prettiest UK camping destinations or 10 glamping destinations in Europe.

10. Go running

Running, like cycling, is an outdoor activity that can be tailored precisely to the individual. You can set yourself challenges and continually try to improve your distance and pace, or you can take it easy, going for slow, short, and gentle runs as a way to clear your mind.

The health benefits of running are very powerful, but the psychological effects can be equally beneficial. For example, running has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and help us relax and refocus.

If you’re not a runner, you might be interested in the NHS’s Couch to 5K programme, which was designed to help running rookies run a 5K in just nine weeks.

If you’re quite not ready to start running yet, you can still benefit from going for brisk walks around your local area. And for added motivation, you could arrange to meet a friend in the park and go for a walk or run together.

Alternatively, running or walking is a great opportunity to listen to music or a podcast and enjoy a little ‘me time’. If podcasts aren’t your thing, hopefully you’ll find some other ideas in our article; 10 rewarding activities to do while walking.

To help you stay on strack, it might also help to download apps like Strava that use GPS to track things like running time and distance, as well as calories burned. This can be a good way to keep on top of your progress and boost motivation as you see how you improve from week to week.

You can find out more about the benefits of running and how to get started in our beginner’s guide to running.

Have you tried any new outdoor activities recently? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.