Want to add a little energy boost to your fitness routine? Try taking it outdoors with these basic, whole body exercises
Doing your workout outside has lots of great benefits. Did you know that if you exercise outdoors, you’re likely to burn more calories? Not only are you getting a hit of vitamin D from the sun, but your brain is also getting more oxygen. You’re also more apt to get better overall results, as being aware of your environment (trees, grass, people) means you’re not focusing as much on time and muscle ache!
Let’s look at how to create a great outdoor workout with some perfect exercises for a natural environment.
Jumping jacks are a fabulous way to warm up for your outside exercises. They get your heart rate up and engage all your muscle groups to prepare them for more strenuous tasks.
You don’t need any equipment, just comfortable clothes and shoes. However, if you want to add a resistance band into your jumping jacks, you can use a hip booty band around your thighs to work your outer thighs even harder.
Here’s an example of using resistance bands for jumping jacks, and also other variations of body work:
Squats are excellent for your lower body. They’re a great all-round exercise because they work several muscle groups at the same time.
You can do squats just using your body weight, or with a booty resistance band. If you’re using a resistance band, put the band around your thighs, just above your knees.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and go down into a squat.
- As you squat down, keep your back straight. You can stretch your arms out straight at shoulder height each time you squat, or clasp your hands in front of you.
Here’s a great example of doing squats at your local park bench:
For this exercise, you’ll need a pull-up band like this one.
- Wrap the middle of the band around a soccer goal post, a tree, or a pole. Anything higher than your head will do.
- Hold both ends of the band in your hands.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and sink into a squat, straightening your arms as you do so.
- Then pull yourself back up.
Here’s an example:
Alternating Forward Lunge
- Keep your resistance band in the same place, and turn around so that it’s behind you.
- With the ends of the band in each hand, stand so that you are about 3 feet away from a goal post, tree, or pole.
- Now move your right foot forward to come into a lunge while you hold onto the resistance band. Exhale as you come down into the lunge.
- Bring your right foot back up to your starting position, and move your left foot forward to do a lunge on your left side.
- Repeat as needed.
Here’s what this exercise looks like:
Step-ups are excellent for your lower body, especially your legs and butt.
Step up with alternating feet onto a park bench, elevated platform, steps or even a solid chair as long as it won’t move while you exercise. The higher the bench or surface, the more challenging this exercise will be!
Here’s what step-ups look like on a park bench:
Push-ups are easy to do just about anywhere. Most of us think of doing push-ups on the grass. However, if you want to work your legs simultaneously, consider doing push-ups combined with leg lifts, using a bench, chair, statue, or another form of support.
- Put your hands shoulder-width apart onto your bench or other chosen support object.
- Come down into a push-up, while lifting one of your legs behind you.
- Keep the leg straight and get it high — this will work your hamstrings.
Here’s what these push-ups look like in practice:
Variation: If you want something more challenging, try doing inclined push-ups with your feet on the bench and your hands on the ground. No need to lift each leg while doing this exercise as it is challenging enough as it is!
Bench leg raises
Leg raises are brilliant for your lower abdominal muscles, and you can do them either on a flat surface or on an incline.
- Keeping your body on the floor and with your gaze towards the sky, raise your legs while keeping them straight as you exhale.
- Keep your legs together all the way up.
- Then lower your legs back down slowly.
If you want an added challenge, try doing leg raises on an incline! Go to your local park and do something like this (you’ll be working your abs hard!):
There you have it, lots of ideas for you to work out in your local park, woods, field, or playground — or even your own backyard. You can play with the sequence, trying a complete cycle of each exercise then repeating that circuit, or completing a few sets of one exercise then moving to the next. Have fun and enjoy the additional energy that nature can bring to your workout!
You may also enjoy Morning Yoga & Meditation for Energy, Awareness and Intention with Carter Miles