Is there anything more invigorating than the early morning sun? Start your morning off right and boost your mood with a healthy dose of the sun’s rays! Take this positive energy with you throughout your day to do good for yourself and others. Do you really need a better reason to take your workouts outdoors?
No-equipment outdoor workouts
You really don’t need much to get started on your outdoor fitness journey. You may be surprised to learn that all basic movements are actually already a part of your everyday life. Simple bodyweight exercises are a great way to quickly activate and tone just about every muscle in your body. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need fancy machines or heavy weights to get in a good sweat.
Before you start working out outside, invest in a good pair of sneakers that offer comfort, stability and support for all types of exercises. Don’t forget to warm up! Get your blood pumping by simply jogging around the block, practising long jumps or ripping through a couple of rounds of jumping jacks. Even just running up and down the front steps of your home a few times will do the trick.
To get started, lay down a towel as your “exercise mat” and find a comfortable spot in the grass or on the pavement. There are tons of different bodyweight exercises that you can do to help build some serious muscle. For example, squats and lunges target and engage several leg muscles at once and are easy to add into almost any workout routine. If you want to tone your upper body, try out different push-up variations that target certain muscle groups. The incline and angle of your body, as well as where you position your hands can drastically change which muscles you are working.
Make the most of your surroundings
Grab your water bottle and headphones and spend time in your local park or green space. Who knows, you may even stumble upon an outdoor fitness area. If you should be so lucky, you can practise pull-ups and chin-ups to strengthen your back and arm muscles as well as your abs. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find all of the equipment you need. Improvise with what’s around you. For example, you can use a park bench to practise your dips and work your triceps. Next, you can try placing your hands or feet on the edge of the bench for some incline push-ups. To train your legs, use the bench for one-legged step-ups (if you want an extra challenge try double leg jumps).
It doesn’t take much to get an effective outdoor workout.
If you are committed to putting in the work, you can improve your cardiovascular endurance in just a few short months. If you stay consistent, you may even notice a difference after just one week. For example, the dreaded shuttle run that we all suffered through as children is actually a super effective way to improve your overall fitness. All you need are some cones and a stopwatch to get started. Then, all that’s left to do is lace up your shoes and get ready to hit the ground running.
You don’t have to lift weights to get a good workout and stay in shape. We often forget that exercise bands are just as effective, if not better. Exercise bands put constant tension on your muscles during a workout, which can actually make exercises even more difficult than if you were to just use traditional weights. There are so many different ways to use them. Simply anchoring an elastic resistance band around a sturdy object will allow you to do several different pull-back exercises. Circular resistance bands can be looped around your calves or thighs to up the difficulty level on any classic movement. Many resistance bands even come with handles to provide a better grip and target specific muscle groups.
Mobility exercises are often overlooked but are actually extremely helpful for training your growing muscles. For example, balance boards and balance balls can be used to improve hip flexibility and strengthen your stabilizer muscles. Working with light weights allows you to perform movements through your full range of motion (that you might not be able to do with heavier weights). Lower impact exercises help strengthen the ligaments and muscles that allow you to maintain your full range of motion.
Stretching and recovery
Resting is just as important as working out. To help repair your muscles after a tough workout, make sure that you carve out some extra time for stretching and recovery. Using a foam roller is a great way to eliminate trigger points, relax muscles and help release any unwanted tension. Massage balls and sticks with knobbed surfaces are great for targeting smaller muscles. However, never underestimate the power of good old-fashioned stretching. Forward bends and spinal twists are still extremely beneficial for relieving muscle aches and soreness.
Take advantage of your free time to take care of yourself. Get outside and enjoy the sun! Recharge your body and mind by getting your daily dose of sunshine. Self-care is for everyone!