When the weather is warm, there's no better place to exercise than outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Your neighborhood park can be an especially great location for cardio and strength training. Here's a great outdoor workout that incorporates jogging to get your heart pumping with some satisfying cardio and uses playground equipment for strength training.
You can repeat this routine three times, taking a twenty-second rest period between each step, for an invigorating forty-five-minute workout. Feel free to add, subtract, and substitute exercises as you like—just be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Begin with a quick jog or walk at a comfortable pace to get you warmed up and ready for the rest of your workout. Many community parks have walking and running paths you can use to measure your mile. If not, online resources, such as plotaroute.com, offer ways to map out a course per your desired distance.
Once you've warmed up, it's time for some squats. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, sit back, and lower down as if you're sitting in a chair while keeping your back straight. Continue to lower down until your thighs are close to parallel with the ground. Make sure your knees don't jut out in front of your toes. Keep your core engaged as you straighten back into the starting position. Repeat for forty seconds.
Flexed Arm Hang or Pull-Ups
The monkey bars are a perfect piece of playground equipment to build your arm strength. If you can do pull-ups, complete as many as you can safely within the next forty seconds.
If you're like me and you haven't yet mastered the pull-up, complete a flex hang. Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and propel your body up so your chin is above the bar. If there's a platform beneath the bar, use it to help you lift up. Hold this position for forty seconds or for as long as you can.
Park Bench Push-Ups
Next, use a park bench to do these modified push-ups. Place your hands on the bench shoulder-width apart, and move your feet behind you until your back is flat. Extend your arms fully, then slowly bend your elbows as you lower your body down toward your hands. Return to the starting position and repeat for forty seconds.
Hanging Knee Raises
Head back to the monkey bars for this ab-blasting move. Hang from a bar with your body straight and slowly raise your knees until your thighs are as close as possible to parallel with the ground. Return your legs to the starting position and repeat for forty seconds.
Guess what: swing sets aren't just for kids! They can also be used as a strength-training super resource. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, face the swing and grab the sides of the seat with both hands. Lean back to a forty-five-degree angle, then use your arms to pull your body up toward the swing seat. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for forty seconds.
An outdoor workout is a great way to engage with nature, which can have a healing effect on the mind, too. But if this routine isn't for you, don't worry! There are outdoor exercise ideas for every fitness enthusiast.
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Why It's Good
An outdoor workout routine incorporates cardio, strength training, and the healing power of nature in one satisfying activity. The best part is . . . it's free!