[Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from actor Kyle Howard. You can see Kyle playing Dr. Paul Van Dyke on Royal Pains.]

I started my acting career when I was 13 doing plays in my hometown of Loveland, CO. It wasn’t until I turned 16 when I came to Los Angeles to really pursue acting and caught my big break on a movie called House Arrest in 1995. As with any job, there’s a certain level of stress that comes into play. Whether that’s waiting to hear if you got the part for an upcoming role or waiting to hear if your show got picked up for another season, stress is a constant. The best way for me to relieve stress it to exercise.

A recent study by The Nature Conservancy shows getting outside improves your mood and helps lower stress. I couldn’t agree more and wanted to share with you how I use my natural surroundings to shape my workouts.

The study found running, swimming and biking outdoors burns more calories than the indoor gym equivalent. This is something I personally believe in. I don’t own a gym membership because I have 24/7 access to the best gym – Malibu. I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood full of “natural machines.”

One of the great things about living in Southern California is the weather. It’s perfect at least 360 days a year. I know that’s not the case for a lot of people but as summer approaches, I challenge you to explore your natural surroundings and find ways to incorporate them into your workout routine. It doesn’t have to be a faraway place. For me, there’s a great stairway in my neighborhood that I run up and down every day. Not only will it improve your mood, relieve stress and help get you ready for the beach, it also helps your wallet.

Here are some of my “natural machines.” Leave me a comment below sharing how you use nature to get into shape.

Kyle Howard's natural playgrounds

[All images courtesy of Kyle Howard]

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. Natures gym is definately the best! I also don’t own a gym membership because I can not stand the feeling of being inside running on a machine when I could go trail running with my dog instead! It is funny when I think of Malibu the only adventure I think of is the ocean.. I don’t travel much! Here in Reno, Nevada we are surrounded by mountains and i spend every weekend hiking or trail runnig it is great! Love the post!

  2. I torture myself on the treadmill in the winter months but love any activity outside! Great photos. I really want to try paddle boarding this summer…

  3. Having a reason to exercise, provides passion and drive.

    Passion and drive is self sustaining.

  4. Great spirit! Running down stairs can be very harsh on the knees.

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