Outdoor Workout Ideas
Being confined to a gym is often the reason people put memberships on hold in the summer. Or in some cases, just the thought of being indoors all year to work out is unappealing to certain people, so they decide to take their training outside.
If you are looking to start a fitness regimen and like the idea of going outside, there are a lot of benefits to be had. According to the National Institutes of Health, a term known as “ecotherapy” involves the interaction with nature to enhance growth and healing.1
Ecotherapy is felt on the inside and out, and can quickly change the game and do wonders for your mood, self-esteem and overall physical fitness. Suffice it to say, this medium of training is also great for breaking plateaus and redefining your relationship with exercise.
Here are some ideas that you can incorporate in case you need a starting point.
1. Walk it Off
If you are completely new to exercise, it’s always best and safest to start out basic. And you do not get any more basic than walking. It’s easy, it’s low-impact, it’s convenient and it comes with a lot of benefits.
And not the typical benefits that you would think that come from physical activity. According to the Harvard Medical School, it can lead to reduced weight-promoting genes, calming your sweet tooth, reducing breast cancer risk, and boosting immunity.2
If walking seems too pedestrian for you, try varying your terrain with sand, pebble trails, or hiking paths. You can also alternate your intensity from fast to slow for an additional boost in caloric output.
2. Use Natural Obstacles to Your Advantage
The uneven nature in the environment alone is going to enhance your workouts. You have hills, sand, rocks, roots, ruts, boulders and sometimes downed trees to work around and with.
All of which uses different muscle recruitment and fire up more neurons in the brain than sitting on a machine and doing linear movements in a gym. Use all of these mediums to your advantage.
You sprints up hills, push-ups on boulders, pull-ups on sturdy branches and single leg balances on tree stumps. None of this is boring, and you will always be challenged while taking in beautiful views and breathing in fresh air.
3. Bring Tools to a Local Park
Kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, resistance bands and BOSUs are all great home-gym tools that can double as ecotherapy standbys. They can easily fit into your car and you can set them up at a local park where there is open grass.
A great way to make the best use of them is by spacing them out in a big circle and then creating one exercise to use with each. Simply time yourself or come up with a rep scheme for each, then go around the circle doing the said exercises.
Take a short rest break between each, and repeat the series for as many rounds as you’d like.
4. Find an Adult Playground
These have actually seen a boon in popularity over the years. An adult playground consists of adult-sized equipment that is fashioned off of children’s gold standards like monkey bars, climbing ropes, balance beams, rings and webbed ladders.
You can simply find one of these and perform exercises that target all of your major muscle groups to get a full body workout.
5. Go Amphibious
If you have access to an outdoor swimming pool, lake or pond, then you have a great opportunity to get a hybrid workout. Simply hop into the body of water and swim a certain distance or do a set amount of laps. Then come out and immediately perform a series of bodyweight exercises like pushups, air squats, lunges, mountain climbers, and bicycle crunches. Then you can hop back into the water, swim again, and repeat the whole process.
If you have access to a park bench or stationary object nearby, you can also include exercises like step-ups, dips, elevated pushups, and box jumps. Lastly, you can use the object as an anchor to hook resistance bands.
Feel Mother Nature’s Power
As you can see, there are many ways you can utilize the outdoors to your advantage when it comes to exercise. There really are no solid rules involved. You can get as creative as you’d like.
The most important thing is that you execute proper form and always think in terms of being safe. In as little as a few short weeks, you can find yourself hooked and you may never enter a gym again.
- Tags: Staying Active
- Blog Contributor