How to Stay in Shape While Camping

By Stephanie Thomas – June 1, 2022

Ah, camping. The simplicity of a tent, nature’s beauty and gentle sounds of birds and waterfalls. No alarm clocks blaring, no rush-hour traffic and all the delicious camp food. 

While camping is a great time to “get away” from your everyday life, you may discover that staying in shape feels more difficult without gym access. The good news is that camping is one of the best opportunities to get active.

As you plan your camping trip, you should take the time to create a fitness routine that best meets your needs, interests and goals. The following exercise ideas include options for cardiovascular training, strength training, balance, flexibility and mobility.

Cardiovascular Training

Swimming: If you have access to a water source like a lake, river or pool at the campground, this is an excellent way to get your heart rate up.

Run/Jog: Running is an excellent way to stay fit while camping. You can either run at a steady pace or do interval training where you run hard for 30 to 60 seconds, then recover and repeat.

Bike Ride: This is another fun way to get your heart rate up and explore nature. See if your campground rents out bikes, or plan to bring your own. 

Walk/Hike: Try hiking on different terrains like hills and mountains. This can be a great way to enjoy the scenery while completing an excellent cardio workout. A power walk on a flat surface is also a wonderful cardio workout the whole family can enjoy, pups included.

Games and Sports: If your campsite has an open area, you can play sports like kickball or soccer on the field.  

Strength Training

Hiking: Hiking in different terrain is amazing for cardiovascular exercise, but it also strengthens your muscles. You use your entire body when hiking, especially your legs, glutes and core. Look for nearby hills and mountains, and if you’re feeling up to it, fill your backpack to increase resistance. 

Bodyweight exercises: If you’re looking for a workout that doesn’t require any equipment, bodyweight workouts will do the trick. Try doing pushups with your legs elevated on a conveniently placed boulder. For inspiration, you can also check out these nine bodyweight exercises that could be useful on any outdoor excursion:

  • Pushups
  • Pullups
  • Situps
  • Squats
  • Tricep dips
  • Lunges
  • Handstands
  • Burpees
  • Planks



If you are hiking on a trail, look for a log to walk across to test your balance. Make sure to hold onto a friend’s hand for extra support. A relaxing way to practice balance is to find a large rock and stand tall while doing some deep breathing. Or, take a break from walking and do a few single-leg squats. 

Doing yoga on a camping trip could help you relax even more. Roll out your yoga mat at your campsite or find an open space in nature (my preferred place is on the beach or near a lake). Listen to your body and flow through exercises that feel good. Be sure to add extra balance poses, like the tree, warrior III or eagle pose. If you can do a headstand or handstand, find a nearby tree trunk for support.

Flexibility and Mobility

After a long day of hiking and sightseeing, it’s important to take at least 5 to 10 minutes to stretch and work on your mobility so you are ready to take on the next day. Before bed, either in your tent or RV, take time to soothe your muscles. Go through simple stretches like the forward fold, butterfly stretch, chest opener and downward dog. These static exercises will help increase your flexibility. Add mobility movements like cat-cow to keep your spine healthy, and add arm circles and side stretches to release tension from your upper body. If you have time the next morning, complete a short yoga routine including sun salutations to feel limber and energized. If yoga isn’t your thing, start the day by enjoying coffee by the campfire and taking five minutes to do simple static and dynamic stretches.

Pack Smart

Add a few simple items to take your workout to the next level. Depending on your intended workouts for your camping trip, you’ll want to plan ahead and pack some items to make your workouts even more enjoyable. Consider bringing the following for a few more exercise options:

  • Resistance bands. This is an excellent option if you want to take your strength exercises up a notch. Resistance bands are light and easy to take on the go, so they’d be ideal to add to a camping workout.
  • Yoga mat. If you decide to do yoga for balance, flexibility and mobility training, a yoga mat will make your session much more comfortable.
  • Trail running shoes. Want to run for your cardiovascular training? If you plan to run on trails, bring the appropriate shoes to keep yourself safe.
  • Jump rope. This is the perfect cardio workout if you don’t have a lot of space. You can do it right at your campsite! 

Camping is an excellent way to retreat from your busy life and appreciate nature. If you exercise while camping, you’ll almost always reap the benefits of added health and increased energy. On top of that, you get the opportunity to try a bunch of new workouts while camping.


About the Author

Stephanie Thomas smiling.

Stephanie Thomas, CPT is a certified personal trainer, health coach and yoga teacher living in Annapolis, Maryland. As the founder of Stephanie Thomas Fitness and creator of The Bridal Body Workout Guide, she helps brides develop healthy habits and a well-rounded workout routine they’re obsessed with. When she’s not creating workouts for her clients, you can find Stephanie reading the latest health book, spending time in nature or taking a walk with her two cavalier pups. You can grab her free Bridal Arms Mini Guide and sign up for her free wellness newsletter (featuring fun freebies!) on her website. 


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