With all the wilderness and outdoor space Canada has to offer, camping is a go-to getaway for summertime. But just because you’re getting away from your routine, doesn’t mean you can’t still exercise. In fact, working out in the wilderness can be even more fun, with new activities to try in a great natural setting!

Level 5 GoodLife personal trainer Kim Jory grew up camping in northern Manitoba with her father and brothers, so she knows a thing or two about balancing work and play.

Exercise opportunities are hiding on your camping trip

Camping is an active form of relaxation. Setting up a campsite, preparing meals, and enjoying outdoor activities will keep you moving. You may not feel like you have time to schedule a workout, but there are plenty of hidden workout moments in your camping routine, Jory says.

One trick is to take on some of the campsite ‘work.'

“If you can physically put up the tent yourself, for instance, you're getting in some exercise," Jory says. “Use your environment to your advantage!” 

Of course, camping is more about fun than work. But think of how active a lot of that fun is. Are there hills nearby? Try hiking or hill sprints. Are you staying near a body of water? Go for a swim. Did you bring your bike? Find a biking trail and take a ride.

Other hidden exercises include:

  • Gathering and chopping firewood.
  • Doing a ‘farmer’s walk’ with buckets of lake water. A farmer’s walk - a great strength exercise - involves carrying a heavy load while walking in a straight line.
  • Going fishing. Yes, setting up, casting off and reeling in fish can engage the shoulders, back, arms and core.
  • Add some resistance – no need to bring dumbbells or weights, just pack a few rocks in a backpack whenever you’re moving around.

Get the whole gang involved

Chances are, you’re not camping alone. You’re likely on vacation with your family or a group of friends, so why not make fitness a group activity that can keep you motivated while having fun together?

Try a group workout first thing when everyone gets up. “It’s a good way to start the day … You’re getting some really good fresh air [and] it feels good,” Jory says.

She suggests trying partner exercises like back-to-back squats and high-five pushups. Or get competitive and have a swimming race. For campers keen on a challenge, add resistance by wearing your backpack during pushups and squats.

Always keep safety in mind

One thing to remember is that you want to be safe. You don’t want your camping trip cut short because you’ve injured yourself – and dealing with any injury can be more difficult if you’re miles away from civilization.

Also, make sure you pack the right gear -- clothing and footwear that can serve you well in the outdoors and for a workout, Jory says.

“Don’t be walking around in flip-flops if you can help it.  Some good shoes [help you] engage your core properly and maintain a neutral spine in any movement,” she says.

Chances are, when you’re camping, you’ll find that you’re naturally active. It's the perfect opportunity to get away during the summer without getting away from your fitness goals.