Outdoor Activities to Get You Away from Your Desk

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Have you heard that sitting is “the new smoking”? By all means, do your own research on the subject, and you’ll find that a large number of articles have been written, specifically referring to scientific research on the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle that so many of us live these days.

Among other things, the more time you spend sitting each day seems to be associated in a linear correlation with your risk of dying suddenly from all causes, not to mention an increased likelihood of experiencing type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and various assorted cardiovascular complains.

In other words, if you go to the office each morning, sit at your desk for eight or nine hours, sit in your car for the commute back home, and then sit on your sofa for the rest of the evening in order to watch TV and relax, you’re not doing your health any favours at all, and may even be shortening your life in a manner widely believed to be comparable to smoking cigarettes.

So what’s the solution? Well, part of the trick seems to be getting up and moving around a bit each hour. Gadgets such as standing desks — and even standing treadmill desks — can allow you to get your work done without being in a constant seated position.

Another great part of the solution, however, is certainly getting outside on a regular basis, and filling more of your leisure time with active outdoor pursuits, that are essentially the polar opposite to how you spend your office hours.

So, if you, like so many of us, spend too much of your day seated, here are some outdoor activities to help get you away from your desk.


Golf is one of those timeless pursuits, famously popular with successful businessmen, and also with anyone who just likes the prospect of meeting up with friends on a lazy weekend, having some fun, and revelling in the sense of competition and the desire to surpass your own previous best efforts.

Golf is one of those sports which isn’t so intense that it prohibits all but the youngest and most athletic from playing. In fact, thanks to innovative technologies such as the utility golf cart, even the elderly, or those with heaps of equipment they want to lug around, can easily participate in the game without exhausting themselves, but while still standing, walking around, and getting a decent among of low-intensity exercise.

Golf also typically exposes you to some fresh air, puts you in face-to-face social contact with other people, which is certainly a benefit in the digital age, and can even get you into the sun for a moment, depending on where you live, and the time of year. Traditional golfers in Scotland can disregard that last point.


Alright, so cycling does technically involve sitting, but it’s the kind of sitting which simultaneously involves physical exertion and exercise, and which is certainly better for you than extended periods of comfortable sitting in front of your computer or TV.

Cycling is an excellent pastime for all sorts of reasons, not least of all that it provides you with a means of transport which is much speedier than walking from place to place on foot, and which is also, simultaneously, a great form of exercise.

With a bicycle, people can turn their usual commute to work into a healthy fitness routine, exposed to the open air and the elements.

Cycling can also be a great excuse for getting out into nature, as many of the most beautiful and appealing natural sites you might visit will have dedicated cycling routes, which allow you to spend hours travelling far into the heart of ancient forests, or through scenic, pastoral landscapes.

If you have a bit more of a need for adrenaline, you can also try mountain biking over rugged terrain, which combines the “outdoor” element with far more exercise than you may have been counting on initially, and just enough danger to get your heart-rate pulsing.


Hiking may not get your adrenaline pumping, but it’s the kind of pastime that allows you to shrug off the concerns of your everyday life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

It’s a way of spending an afternoon — or even an entire vacation — that lets you work stress out of your body, do some deep thinking, clear your lungs, and appreciate the world in a much more fundamental way than you might tend to while at home or in the office.

A hike can involve you trekking over rugged mountainous terrain, or walking through lush fields, or better yet, poetic landscapes such as England’s Lake District.

Whatever your particular preference of location, hiking is easily one of the most uplifting ways of spending a day out, and it’s about as far from your comfy chair as you can get without really having to sweat.


Gardening certainly isn’t most people’s idea of a “sexy” pastime, but it’s nonetheless one of those activities that has enthralled and delighted manner, for as long as history records. Even in the days before private gardens were a common and widespread feature of life, you can find poems and hymns praising the beauty of the countryside, or the character-building nature of working the land.

Gardening can be a great psychological release from the cycle of conspicuous consumption that so many of us find ourselves chronically caught up in. When we’re in our gardens, we are creators rather than consumers, and get to experience the satisfaction of nurturing and tending a patch of land, and watching our labours bear fruit — sometimes literally.

Gardening is, of course, also a great way of getting physically active, for people of all ages. When we’re gardening, we’re moving around frequently; we’re straining at roots, walking around, stooping, standing back up, digging, and just generally using our bodies in the ways they were meant to be used.

So, whether you have your own garden, or have access to allotment, do whatever you can to take advantage of gardening opportunities as they arise.