Fresh air and fitness – a great combination for any wellness routine! If you're looking for a simple way to switch-up your fitness routine, consider adding some outdoor workouts to your regular exercise regimen.
New surroundings can often make the same moves feel more challenging and exciting, so heading out to your backyard or local park is an easy way to refresh any routine that’s starting to feel repetitive. Here are four great outdoor workouts that you can complete in your yard or neighbourhood with minimal preparation and equipment, so choose your favourite and get sweating!
Park Bench Circuit
If jogging around the neighbourhood isn’t quite enough to satisfy your exercise needs (either in difficulty or fun), then an outdoor circuit is a great option. This workout is great for any outdoor space with a bench or hard surface available, so head to your local park and give it a try! This 6-step example mixes upper and lower-body exercises with intense bursts of energy (like the power burpees) for a fast circuit that will target both strength and cardio. If you’re headed to a park close to your house, use the walk/run there as a warm-up and then a brisk walk home for a cooldown. The best part is that you don’t need any equipment, so you can even incorporate this circuit spontaneously when you’re out for a walk over your lunch break or meeting friends for dinner at a park (get there early to grab a potential 20-minute workout!).
Landmark Interval Sprints
Sometimes interval sprints can be monotonous: running for 1 minute, walking for 30 seconds, over and over and over. Next time you’re outside, try creating random interval times to keep your workout interesting and engaging. Before leaving home, decide on specific landmarks or events that will signal your switch from running to walking; perhaps you begin and end your intervals every time you see a squirrel or decide that you’ll run until you’ve counted 10 lamp posts. This is a great workout for every level since you can choose items that are more or less frequent based on your desired running time. The whole family can also get in on this run, making it lots of fun!
Find Some Stairs!
If you’ve ever used the stair climber at the gym, you know what a great workout it can be. When you’re outside using real stairs and navigating small inconsistencies, your workout will be even better. Scope out your neighbourhood for areas that have wide, fairly even stairs - the best location is one that has a sloping path you can use to walk down to the bottom so that you don’t have to descend on the stairs as well (and put extra strain on your joints). It’s easy to modify stair climbing based on your current level of physical fitness, so check out these ideas for some modifications when you need to take it easy or ramp up the intensity!
Backyard Obstacle Course
Remember being a kid in P.E. class, running through crazy obstacle courses outside? Those fun activities aren’t just good for children - by using difficult exercises and heavyweights, you can create a backyard obstacle course that will be challenging and fun. If you need some inspiration, check out this basic approach; while it’s directed at kids, the planning stage is similar for adults, too. Replace easier obstacles with appropriate challenges for your fitness level – set a jump rope on the grass and complete 100 reps, step up and down on a tree stump or curb for 20 times alternating legs, crawl under the picnic table, set up a path with rocks and jump over each one as you make your way down the course. You’ll be surprised how quickly you work up a sweat and are out of breath with even these simple exercises! The novelty of working out in your backyard with everyday objects will also challenge your mind to stay sharp while your body works in high gear.
No matter your fitness level, getting outside to enjoy some quick (and free!) workouts can help add a fun new twist to your exercise routine.