Get back to nature with these simple and effective outdoor exercises. And find tips to exercise outside during your daily commute.
Why exercise outside in a park, when you could do it all at home? For me, it's about enjoyment, more than anything else.
You'll get more fresh air (hopefully unpolluted), and some rays if it's sunny. But the experience of working out in large open spaces, surrounded by trees and grass, really does it for me.
The other great thing is the "ready to go" equipment. Climbing frames, slides, swings and benches can all be used. Try not to push the kids off though!
Then there's the cost factor. Well lack of, cos it's free. The only thing that could hold you back, is the weather. On those days, you always have your home exercises or gym pass to hand.
So the key here, is really about variation. Exercise outside to mix things up. To keep your workouts interesting and enjoyable.
There are limitless amounts of exercises that you can do outdoors. It just takes a little imagination to vary them every now and again.
Once you get some ideas, you'll be well on your way. So, here are a few ideas to exercise outside:
(Warm up and cool down either side of your main workout)
Intervals. You can vary your intervals with different intensities. Some examples:
- Sprint 20 seconds, walk 20 seconds, repeat 5 times.
- Jog for 5 minutes with two 10 seconds sprints spaced in the middle.
- Repeat a pattern of jog 40 seconds, sprint 10 seconds, walk 10 seconds.Uphill. Make good use of any hills or mounds to sprint uphill. It's much harder than it sounds. Really pump your arms to get up there. Walk back down.Suicides (ladders). Use trees as markers or any lines on the grass. Sprint to the first (closest) mark, sprint back. Then sprint to the 2nd mark and back to the start point, and so on. Use 3 or 4 progressive marks. Say you have 4 marks, each 5 meters apart. You'll be sprinting 5m there and back, then 10m there and back, then 15m there and back, then 20m there and back.
Bodyweight Toning ExercisesPull ups. Use any bar that you can reach and grip. Try and do the first pull up, it's tough. Any more than one is a good achievement, but keep trying to do more in your next workout.Squats and lunges. There are many variations of these alone. Always keep good technique, you should feel it in your thighs, calves and bottom.
- Squats can be done 1 or 2 footed; feet together or split stance; controlled and slow or fast and powerful; one continuous movement or held at the bottom.
- Lunges can go forwards or backwards; walk and lunge or on the spot; wide or narrow; continuous or held.Push ups. You can push up against anything. The floor, a bar, a bench, with your feet on a raised platform (e.g. bottom of a slide), or an even higher platform to give you a vertical push up. Try all different angles to work different areas of your upper body.Step ups. Find any platform you can step on to. Step on and off with alternate legs. For power go for a smaller platform but do fast steps. For strength choose a higher platform and take it slow and controlled.Jumps. You could do jumping jacks, 2 footed jumps (on flat ground and up steps), jumps on and off a platform, jumps into squats, 1 footed jumps (hops).
Relaxing ExercisesWalking. On "rest" days or after a stressful day at work, walking in the park is the best remedy. It could even just be a walk around the block. Clear your head, take some deep breaths and end up feeling relaxed.Hiking. It's slightly less relaxing, if you take it seriously enough. But for me a hike means putting on some boots, and walking off the beaten path. Best not to go alone though.
Exercise Outside During Your Commute
If you commute to work everyday, you have the perfect chance to slip in some outdoor exercise.
No matter what form of transport you take, there are exercises you can do. Carry a bottle of water with you and wear appropriate loose clothing. You can change when you get to work.
Here are some commuting ideas to exercise outside:Car.. park further away and briskly walk the rest. If you can't park further away, then walk around the building twice. Do some isometric (static) exercises when you're in traffic.Tube/subway/metro/train.. briskly walk between interchanges. Take the stairs whenever possible (instead of escalators), pump your legs with each step. Stand when travelling, hold the rail with one hand and slightly lift a foot off the floor. Switch arms and feet with each station stop. You'll work all your core balancing muscles, legs and arms.Bus.. get off 1 stop before or after your own, briskly walk the rest.
I hope these ideas provide some inspiration to get the best from your commuting time. You could also do some exercise at work.
Click here for office exercises.
I hope you get a change of scene, and take your exercise outside. When the weather's good, there really is no better feeling.
Navigate through the buttons on the top left of this page, find more outdoor exercise ideas. Cycling, jump rope, running - you could even take your pilates outside.
Exercise outside the box. Be creative.
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