Outdoor Things to do in Columbia, MO

The more you enjoy your exercise routine, the more motivated you are to stick with it. You don't have to perform all your activities at the gym. Here are some outdoor things to do in Columbia, Mo to keep you active and happy.

Woman walking down a trail outdoors wearing a backpack

Outdoor Things to Do in Columbia, MO

  1. Walking or biking on the MKT and Katy Trail - Start at Peace Park or connect at spots like Grindstone Nature Area. Have you been to Katfish Katy's?
  2. Enjoy a trek around the paved sidewalks at Stephens Lake Park - In the warmer months, patrons often fish the pond.
  3. Rock Bridge State Park - On sunny days you can hike beneath the trees to find some shade. Bring bug spray.
  4. Bring your dog out to Twin Lakes Recreation Area - Twin lakes has separate areas for large and small breed dogs.
  5. Outdoor exercise station at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial - Located at 800 W Stadium Blvd, this gem has a bike pump.
  6. Finger Lakes State Park - canoe and kayak rentals offered March 15th - November 15th.
  7. Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area - for a longer walk from Cooper's landing (3.2 miles).
  8. Mini Golf and Batting Practice at Midway Golf & Games.

Don't let this list hold you back, there are a number of things to do in Como.

I've biked from the Jay Dix Station to Hartsburg for the annual Pumpkin festival. From Jax Dix Station to Rocheport for Breakfast at Meriwether Cafe. I've biked from Downtown Columbia to the Big Tree. (I really like biking).

Why Do We Need Recreation?

We need recreation for our physical health and wellbeing. Besides the physical benefits, exercise has also been shown to help improve your mood.

Exercise can help manage the symptoms of;

  • Stress and Anxiety - The rhythmic nature of exercise is anxiety reducing both in the short and long term.¹
  • Depression - Exercise releases serotonin, an important neurotransmitter with antidepressive effects.¹
  • Parkinson's Disease - Flexibility, aerobic activity and resistance exercise play a vital role in managing the symptoms of Parkinson's

Note: Exercise should never take the place of standard care. Before you make any changes to your diet and exercise habits, make sure you check with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Be Realistic About Exercising

Some people like to use exercise as meditation. Your only goal is to stay consistent and try to improve yourself over time. Fit activity into your schedule however you see fit.

For example:

  • Monday - Strength training
  • Tuesday - Cardio
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - Strength training
  • Friday - Yoga
  • Saturday - Bike ride to Rocheport
  • Sunday - Rest

I don’t like to make cardio complicated unless you're an aerobic athlete.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends the following amounts of cardio:

Cardiovascular Activity Recommendations

(Hagerman, Aerobic Endurance Training Program Design, 2012)

Arbitrary Classification Frequency (Days per week) Duration (Minutes)
Beginner 2 - 3 About 20 - 40
Intermediate 4 - 5 About 30 - 60
Advanced 5+ Varies

Being in good general shape will help you get the most out of your workouts in the gym. Take some time to perform cardio or general physical activity as often as your heart desires.


  1. Hatfield, B. D., & Kaplan, P. (2012). Exercise Psychology for the Personal Trainer. In J. W. Coburn & M. H. Malek (Authors), NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training (Second ed., pp. 126-128). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  2. Exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://www.parkinson.org/Unde...

I most want to see changes in my
I want to start:
I am interested in training: *

Steven Mack is founder and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the private training studio, Simple Solutions Fitness. He consults for Stronger by Science, a leader in fitness research dissemination, and is a former Mizzou football walk-on. Steven dedicates his professional life to helping people through his writing, speaking, and role as a personal trainer.