Take It Outside: 3 Must-Try Outdoor Workouts

Machines, barbells, and bodyweight exercises all play a role in staying fit, but, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the gym. Work up a sweat and embrace the outdoors with these three workouts!

It's another sweltering summer, and it seems like everyone is boasting a bikini bod. The pressure to hit the gym is understandable. Maybe your goal is to fill out that sleeveless tank with toned triceps, or build up your quads before sporting a pair of swim trunks. But achieving those goals doesn't mean spending all your time cooped up in the gym.

With the temperature warming up, taking your workout outdoors is a great way to enhance your fitness level and increase the total satisfaction you get from your workout sessions. Not only will you get a great (free) sweat session, but being outside means you get to breathe in cleaner air and enjoy a change in scenery while getting a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Plus, according to research at the University of Essex, "green exercise" (exercise done in the presence of nature) improves self-esteem and mood.1 Integrate these exercises with 1-2 full-body workouts at the gym for sheer strength maintenance.

The Park Workout

A nearby park is the perfect location to get in a workout session. Parks offer multiple opportunities to perform resistance work while also enhancing your cardio. Park equipment tests your balance and agility, so if you play sports, the benefits will transfer over.

Make sure to start each workout with a brief 5-minute warm-up of some light jogging and end with a 5-minute cool-down of stretching and deep breathing.

Park Workout
  • Pullups Pullups Pull-ups (Off overhead bar)
    3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Trail Running/Walking Trail Running/Walking Trail Running/Walking
    3-5 minutes
  • Dog Walk Across Any Flat Surface Dog Walk Across Any Flat Surface Dog Walk (ccross any flat surface)
    30 seconds back and forth
  • Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge (across balance beam)
    3 sets of 6-8 reps (or however long the beam is)
  • Burpees Crab Walk (across any flat surface)
    30 seconds back and forth
  • Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise (hands on the monkey bars)
    3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Plank Plank Plank Hold (across any flat surface)
    30-second hold
  • Pushups Pushups Push-ups (on top of monkey bars)
    3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Burpees Burpees Burpees
    10-15 reps
  • Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups Step-ups (on/off the balance beam)
    3 sets of 6-8 reps

The Beach Workout

Sand: It's nature's resistance. The nice thing about the beach is that you can reap great strength gains without having to use as much external weight. Plus, the shifting sand makes for a more engaged lower-body workout. In fact, a study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning" found that running in the sand leads to an increase in calf circumference.2 How's that for gains?

The following beach workout combines both strengthening movements and cardiovascular conditioning to get you lean in a hurry. As tempting as it is to go barefoot, make sure that you wear supportive footwear while doing this workout to lessen the chance of twisting an ankle.

Aim to perform this workout with as little downtime between exercises as possible (resting for the appropriate amount of time between sets). If you find yourself fatigued, rest as needed. Restart as soon as possible once you're ready.

Beach Workout
  • Beach Sprints Second Sprints Back and Forth Across the Beach
    3 sets of 15-second sprints with 30-second rests between
  • Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge
    20 reps
  • Pushups Pushups Push-ups
    20 reps
  • Beach Sprints Second Sprints Back and Forth Across the Beach
    2 sets of 30-second sprints with 60-second rests between
  • Burpees Burpees Burpees
    20 reps
  • Burpees Crab Walk
    20 reps/steps
  • Running High Knees Running High Knees Running High Knees
    60 seconds
  • Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise Lying Leg Raise
    20 reps
  • Mountain Climbers Mountain Climbers Mountain Climbers
    30 reps
  • Plank Plank Plank
    30-second hold x 20 (30-seconds rest in between)
  • Beach Sprints Second Sprints (back and forth across the beach)
    3 sets of 20-second sprints with 40-second rests between

The Trail Workout

Head out to the trails and take in fresh scenery for another excellent opportunity to get in an effective workout while taking a break from the hectic pace of everyday life. Liven up your run and burn more calories by slogging up inclines, crossing creeks, and hopping over stones and twigs. Choose to time your run, and integrate exercises at set intervals, or opt for a less structured, free-form workout.

Listen to your body throughout the workout. Push hard enough to get in a good workout without exhausting yourself before the session ends.

Trail Running
Trail Workout

As the temperature heats up, the chance of dehydration will be that much greater. Remember to stay well hydrated. Either bring a water bottle with you or make sure you have access to water immediately after the workout is finished.

  1. What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis. Environmental Science and Technology.
  2. A Comparison of the Endurance Training Responses to Road and Sand Running in High School and College Students. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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