Moving Your Workouts From The Gym To The Outdoors

Summer can be a bit of a conundrum for those that love their health and fitness. It’s holiday season, so you want to make sure you are feeling your best on the beach in August. It’s also boiling hot outside, the evenings are long and sometimes you to forget your the gym and head outdoors. You want to laze on the grass and eat picnic food, not sweat under artificial lights for hours. We get it.

The thing is, when the weather is perfect, with no rain and very few clouds, you don’t have to avoid the gym or skip a workout.

Reframe what the gym is. It's a place that you exercise, right? It is the place that you get your workout in. So, on a sunny day make the park into your gym. Easy.

The UK is a green country, whether you are closer to Hyde Park in London, or a field in Wales. Finding appropriate places to work out is simple if you know what to look for.

What to look for when exercising outdoors

You will need somewhere outdoors with

  • Short grass (nobody likes long grass up their nose during press ups)
  • Enough open space that you aren’t encroaching on anyone else’s sunbathing, and
  • A few basic props to make it more efficient.
find a space outdoors to exercise

Your basic props might be something that you bring along with you or things that are around you. For example, you could pack

  • A skipping rope,
  • Ankle weights,
  • Resistant bands, and
  • Foam roller

These basic props allow you to mimic some of the equipment you usually find in a gym. The park might have a bench for step-ups, a smooth tree for wall-sits, and even heavy logs for weighted squats.

Some exercise is well suited to the outdoors

HIIT workouts are particularly suited to outdoor spaces. This is because they often rely on bodyweight exercises. You don’t always need tons of machines to get a good workout in! Focus on cardiovascular HIIT workouts that use a lot of space to get the benefits of a wide-open area.

For example, you can use a skipping rope without fear of swiping someone in the face, and do walking lunges as far as you can bear it. If you’ve got a yoga mat, then that’s great for floor exercises. But even if you haven’t you may find the grass is soft enough for a few sit-ups and a plank or two.

yoga outdoors

If you do have a yoga mat, then find yourself a shady spot and save a good Youtube video of a Vinyasa Flow to your phone. Outdoor yoga on a balmy evening is overrated! If you’ve had a long day at work and need a foolproof way to unwind, then this is it. If you are into Tai Chi or meditation, then a summery park is the perfect place to have your moment.

Finding a workout partner to work out with can bring out the best in most people. This is particularly true of a park workout. If you feel a bit self-conscious sweating it out next to sunbathers, then having someone sweating alongside you can be a great boost. If you’ve got boxing gloves and pads, then you can have the perfect joint workout without the need for a punch bag.

A lot of low intensity cardio exercises are ideal for parks. Heading out for a run is the simplest way to make the most of the good weather. Take it slow and enjoy the fresh air compared to the monotonous treadmill. If the impact of jogging wreaks havoc on your joints, then a bike ride will release the same endorphins. Even going for a brisk walk is better than nothing!

What you can take from this is that the gym is not the be-all and end-all.

Re-framing how you think about exercise and what elements you need to get you a good workout means you can get it done anywhere. Often the mental benefits you will get from being out in the fresh air are far more important than whether you are lifting enough that week. Enjoy the summer, and don’t think you have to sacrifice your health and fitness for the sunshine.

 

 

 

About the Author Kitty Harris

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