Tired of the treadmill? Bogged down with the Swiss ball? Weights have you wondering? It's easy to get stuck in a fitness rut when you're doing the same gym workout or running the neighborhood loop you've been following for years. "A lot of people spend all day plugged in to a computer or a phone or staring at a monitor, then they go to the gym and plug in to a treadmill for the same old workout," says Lisa Isom, a veteran professional Xterra competitor based in Leadville, CO. (Xterra is an off-road duathlon that combines the disciplines of trail running and mountain biking.) "When you do that, you aren't getting the benefits of an outside workout. You don't get the endorphins going or enjoy the beauty of what's around you."
The simplest way to expand your exercise horizons and travel to fantastic destinations: Get out of the gym. Outdoor sports like rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, and fly-fishing are considered extreme. But they're still accessible to beginners, according to the pros we talked to at the 2011 Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO. First-timers can rent the equipment necessary for each sport. If you get hooked, the price of admission is just a one-time front-end investment for equipment.* After that, all five of these sports are free. Just find a local rock outcrop, trail, river, ocean, or stream and you're off. (Related: Find out the benefits of exercising outside in 7 Ways Outdoor Workouts Boost Fitness Results.)
*Cost factor: We've rated each of these sports on a scale of one to four dollar signs based on how much you'll spend to get outfitted with equipment.