Want to get fit and have fun? Give the treadmill a miss and do some of these outdoor activities in Singapore that’ll get the heart pumping. From hiking and golf to yoga, bootcamps and other outdoor fitness classes in Singapore, here are some great ways to get fit in the fresh air.
*Some of these are currently limited, but often virtual classes are available.
#1 Outdoor fitness classes and bootcamps
Research shows that getting outdoors more often can boost our energy and mood, relieve stress, fight depression and anxiety, stimulate creativity and concentration, reduce inflammation and lower risks of heart attack. And, training in a group with like-minded people is great for motivation and can make exercising more fun. There are group fitness classes in Singapore for everyone.
As one of the largest fitness communities in Singapore for over a decade now, UFIT knows a thing or two about making outdoor fitness classes fun and effective. They’ve got tons of high-energy outdoor workouts to choose from across nine locations island- wide, including Fort Canning Park, the Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park and Sentosa Cove. From fast-paced Metcon (held at Tanglin Rugby Club) and HIIT sessions to strength- training Build classes, there’s something to get everyone’s heart pumping.
“Working out in nature is the best way to kick-start your day. Not only does it get your heart rate going but it will also get your happy hormones going,” says director of UFIT bootcamps, WENDY RIDDELL. “Bootcamp classes attract many types of people because they’re inclusive and fun, as well as challenging and varied.”
If you’re looking for a bootcamp-style class that mixes things up, she says UFIT’s Burn is a great cardio workout suitable for all fitness levels. Offered at six different locations (including UFIT’s latest venue, Café Melba at Goodman Arts Centre), the popular full-body workout incorporates mobility and strength training, plyometrics, AMRAP workouts (“as many reps as possible”), running hill sprints and more.
Better Bodies Bootcamp
Another go-to fitness community with great outdoor activities is Better Bodies Bootcamp. Here, too, you can expect camaraderie and positive encouragement, in a fun, non-intimidating and supportive group setting (forget the strict drill-sergeant vibe!).
“A great alternative to the gym scene, our outdoor bootcamp classes are appropriate for men and women of all ages and fitness levels, and provide a good jump-start for people who need a little motivation, and want to do something different with their fitness programme,” explains Better Bodies Bootcamp founder, TONI FINAN.
Each of the one-hour bootcamps is designed to challenge you with speed and agility drills, core conditioning, walking and jogging, strength training and obstacle courses. In fact, you can expect to see results after just eight weeks of the outdoor classes.
In addition to the classic Bootcamp, there’s a TRX Circuit session that uses your body weight to perform different exercises, and a “20/20/20” class that incorporates 20 minutes of brisk walking through the Botanic Gardens, 20 minutes of toning and 20 minutes of stretching. The Booty Camp class, in particular, is a long-time favourite for women who want to target their lower-body to get firmer thighs, abs and glutes.
In addition to “goal-smashing workouts”, Toni says Better Bodies Bootcamp offers “nutrition, motivation and mind- set classes to keep you on track with balanced, healthy lifestyle habits.” This includes the mega-popular Weight Loss Challenge that has participants tracking exercise and food intake over the course of six weeks. The challenge includes two metabolic scans, three outdoor classes per week and access to the WhatsApp challenge group with nutrition tips.
Yoga is always a popular choice for those looking for a low- impact workout, and there are loads of meet-ups and outdoor classes available. UFIT’s Yoga, for instance, offers a full-body yoga flow class at the Botanic Gardens that has participants moving through different postures to build strength, endurance and flexibility, all while in the fresh air.
“Yoga is about surrendering your expectations and allowing yourself to explore the reaches of your mind and body,” explains UFIT yoga teacher ALY RAUFF. “By bringing you outdoors, we hope to connect you deeper with the natural world and allow you to fully dive into the practice. Get lost in nature and you might just find yourself!”
In addition, these outdoor classes are perfect to balance out your weekly training and get a well-deserved stretch in!
A great way to burn calories and get in shape, running is a full- body, endorphin-producing workout that can help bust stress and strengthen your joints. Whether it’s along the Singapore River, the Botanic Gardens, the Sentosa beaches or East Coast Park, there are plenty of places to power-walk, jog or full-on sprint.
Looking to get fit with running but don’t know where to start? UFIT’s Run programme helps individuals ignite their passion for running in a fun and social setting. Held at Fort Canning, Run takes regular runners outside their comfort zones by introducing intervals, Fartleks, stairs and hills, and combinations of each.
Another one of our favourite outdoor activities in Singapore? Tennis! With all of that running up and down the court and jumping to hit balls, tennis is an excellent cardiovascular workout that’ll get your heart pumping. In fact, recent studies have shown that people who play racquet sports regularly are linked to a lower risk of dying from heart attack or stroke.
In addition to strengthening your heart with aerobic activity, the social sport is a great opportunity to engage with friends while soaking in some vitamin D. It’s also a wonderful stress buster, as the sport requires focus and strategy, taking your mind off the stress in your life and onto the court instead.
There are loads of programmes and places to practise tennis here in Singapore, from condo courts and recreation centres to country clubs, schools and hotels. For example, UFIT’s Savitar Tennis Centre at Fairmont Hotel offers classes for adults and kids. They even offer a popular Tennis Burn class, which combines the skills and movements of tennis with elements of functional fitness to create an on-court conditioning sweat sesh.
Playing golf can be great fun, but it’s also got a range of mental and physical benefits – from stress relief to improved mental alertness to cardiovascular fitness. It’s a low-impact exercise that can be played by almost anyone. In fact, it’s a wonderful activity for families, explains LEE CARRINGTON, a fully accredited Golf Professional and member of the Australian PGA, who has been teaching golf in Singapore for 23 years.
“It’s a terrific game for both kids and adults, as it teaches honesty and humility,” she says. “It also offers fresh air and exercise – especially if you walk instead of ride! What a great way to get in those ‘steps’ in!”
Whether you’re a complete beginner or want to hone your existing golf skills, Lee offers private and small group classes at Champions Golf Academy (60 Fairways Drive) in Bukit Timah.
“Golf is challenging, no question; but, that’s one of the reasons why it’s so good – it’s all down to you. Whatever happens is in your hands and yours alone,” says Lee. “The best part of golf is the learning curve – and that never ends, no matter how old or how good you get. That’s one of the sport’s most endearing things!”
We’d say hiking is one of the best outdoor activities for getting out in the sunshine and get in some physical activity. There are loads of locales across the island for a nice extended walk with the fam or friends – from MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the Southern Ridges to any one of Singapore’s many other walking trails. You’ll engage different muscle groups all at once, including your core, thighs, calves and ankles, while building cardiovascular strength and burning calories. And, it’s free – a win for everybody!
#7 Mountain biking
Mountain biking is great exercise and will have you exploring parts of the island you probably haven’t been to! There are some great mountain biking trails here in Singapore. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has some of the oldest trails and consists of a range of medium and difficult tracks. The trail is 7km with entry points to the trail at the Dairy Farm car park and Hindhede Road.
#8 Dragon boating
This ancient Chinese tradition is also a killer full-body workout. Paddling one of these boats requires you to use your shoulders, but your back, abdominals, chest, hips and thighs are all engaged as well. Missing practice is a no-no, so you’re less likely to skip a workout; and with so many people, movements and paddles involved you will develop a heightened sense of alertness and awareness as you move in sync with your fellow paddlers.
#9 Wakeboarding and water-skiing
Two more water-based outdoor activities that will challenge your muscles and get your heart racing. Think of wakeboarding as doing squats – on water. It takes significant arm strength to pull yourself up, but your legs too are constantly working and your core is engaged in keeping you upright. Not for the fainthearted, it will take several sessions to build the strength and skill required. Approach with caution!
Offering both wakeboarding and wakesurfing activities, Ryders Singapore is a certified water sports coaching centre located at the Marina Country Club. With the help of the friendly team, you can look forward to a good day out on the water, jumping wakes and riding waves.
#10 Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
This workout looks deceptively simple, but get on a board and you’ll need to work muscles you never knew existed. The common misconception is that SUP requires upper-body strength. In reality, you will need to engage every fibre of your core, upper body and legs. A session on the SUP board will help you to improve your balance and overall strength while increasing endurance. Best of all, if you take a tumble, you land in the water. We’d say this is one of the best outdoor activities in Singapore by far!
#11 Rock Climbing
If you’re looking for something completely different to keep you fit, why not try rock climbing? The SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre has walls of varying heights and difficulty levels including chimney, crack and slab walls. You’ll need arm strength to pull your body up while your thighs and calves simultaneously push you, making it as good as any gym workout. This is also one of those outdoor activities where you’ll need to concentrate and keep your mind alert as you plot your course to the top. If you prefer the real deal, Bukit Timah Quarries offers routes for the novice as well as the experienced. Just be sure to put on your safety harness before you start your climb.
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