As we head into spring, get ready to take your workout outdoors! The pandemic has rendered many gyms and athletic facilities closed or open with restrictions, such as limited capacity and equipment. Most gyms require masks at all times (which can be challenging when you are breathing heavily), and some have shuttered their locker rooms and showers. With all things considered, outdoor workouts are extremely appealing these days. Plus, who doesn’t love a good mood-boosting dose of sunshine? Vitamin D and fresh air are what the doctor ordered! So, read on for our favorite workouts and exercises to do outside.
1. Bodyweight Park Calisthenics
If you want to break a sweat outdoors, workout equipment isn’t even necessary. Most of what you need to get a solid calisthenics-derived burn session can be found at any park. You can get really creative, but even the basics should keep your physique in check. Calisthenics utilizes your body weight for resistance. With these types of movements, you will burn fat, build muscle, and increase your endurance at a rapid pace.
A children’s playground can actually function as the ultimate outdoor workout park! You can use the monkey bars (or any overhead bar) to complete pull-ups. Find a park bench and use it for doing triceps dips as well as push-ups. For a lower body burn, you can use the same bench for box jumps, lunges, and lateral step-ups (with hip abductions). If you want to work your core, you can find a swing (or tire swing) and use it to prop up your legs and feet. Position your body in plank with your wrists stacked beneath your shoulders and move your feet up toward your wrists in repetitive inchworm motions.
It sounds basic, but walking is fantastic for your mental and physical health. It can be really helpful when you are anxious, stressed, or have a lot on your mind. Walking is also great exercise because it is low impact on your joints and can be good cardio. If you live in an urban area, try to walk as much as possible instead of relying on transportation. By making it a consistent part of your routine, you will be setting yourself up for a long-term lifestyle change. That can be one of the most rewarding and impactful choices you can make for your health.
3. Stand Up Paddleboarding
Okay, we are transitioning from our most basic pick (number 2, walking) to one of our more unique choices. Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) is a terrific way to get out and enjoy a body of water while also getting a total body workout. This outdoor workout involves standing on an oversized surfboard (SUP boards are specific to the sport, we don’t recommend trying this on any random board) and paddling in water with an ore (also specific to this sport). If you live near water and enjoy outdoor recreation, you are going to love this! You can beat the crowded beaches by paddling out from the shore and relaxing away from populated areas. Just be sure you don’t forget sunscreen (we are serious, lather up and pack extra). With the water reflecting the sun’s rays as you paddle around, you could be in for a serious burn if you aren’t diligent about reapplying.
If this all sounds great, but you are concerned about the hassle factor of obtaining, storing, and transporting a board, we have a great solution. Since stand-up paddleboarding has really made a splash in recent years (see what we did there?), lots of innovative products have hit the market. Check out this inflatable board by Hydro-Force. It is completely inflatable and folds up into a backpack (which is included). You may be thinking that because it is inflatable, it isn’t durable or sturdy. Think again! This board fills up to a rock-hard 15 PSIs.
Pro tip: if you don’t want your arms to be tired before you even begin paddling, ditch the manual pump that comes with the board and purchase this electric pump that hooks up to your car outlet. In about twelve minutes, your board will be ready to roll.
Speaking of outdoor recreation, who doesn’t love a workout with a view – especially in beautiful New England? Hiking is an amazing way to get a great workout and to enjoy the day. Anything with some challenging uphill terrain will get your heart beating and blood pumping. Plus, being out in nature can be very therapeutic and beneficial for your mental health. If your anxiety has been more prevalent than usual this past year, we can’t blame you! We have been living through groundbreaking and unprecedented historical events. Cortisol and adrenaline levels are through the roof for most. Getting exercise outside, especially some that involves being in nature, away from the hustle and bustle, will be incredibly beneficial.
5. Outdoor HIIT Workout
In case you have been living under a rock, HIIT workouts are at the forefront of every fitness magazine, blog, article, and even celebrity tabloids. What is a HIIT workout? HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. You do extremely challenging (high intensity) exercises for short intervals. The idea is that when you train in intervals, you train your metabolism to rev in this pattern throughout the day. HIIT is an amazing way to burn fat and get your cardio in without having to spend a lot of time.
Why not take it outside? One of the coolest things about HIIT is that there is no exercise equipment necessary. You will be doing spurts of exercises (such as burpees, squats, variations of jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc.), so all you really need is a flat surface. Your outdoor HIIT workout may actually be ideal in a grassy field because it may offer a softer impact for your knees and other joints.