What are the best outdoor workouts?08.01.21
The past year has forced us to adapt our lifestyles in many ways, exercise routines included. But as we spend more time sitting on the sofa, making the effort to move and eat well is more important than ever. If you’re struggling to get to the gym or play sports as usual, fear not. There are plenty of super-effective outdoor workouts that can be done with next to no equipment. So grab your trainers, head to your local park, and give some of these exercises a go.
What exercises can you do outside?
Park bench press ups
Place your hands on the edge of a bench, around shoulder width apart, then step back and get into plank position. Resting only on your arms and tiptoes, lower your chest towards the bench, then push up again. Make sure you engage your core and keep your elbows out to the sides for correct form.
A squat is one of the best compound bodyweight exercises, and this modification makes targeting the glutes just that bit harder. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, then lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pulse two or three times, squeezing your glutes and pressing into your heels. Bring yourself back into standing position, and repeat.
Stand tall with feet hip width apart, and keep your chest lifted and core tight. Then run on the spot, driving your knees as high as you can and swinging your arms.
Park bench dips
Sit on a bench with hands either side of your hips. Slide off the bench so you’re just holding yourself up with your hands. Bend your elbows, and bring your upper arms parallel to the ground, then push up into the starting position.
Jumping squats and lunges
Adding plyometrics – otherwise known as jump training – into your workout is a great way to build strength and get your cardio fix at the same time. Try jumping up into starting position when doing your normal lunges and squats.
How do I get fit outdoors?
Wondering where to start with reps, sets and timings? Two of the best ways to get results is by incorporating these exercises into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or circuits.
During a HIIT workout, you put maximum effort into a short burst of exercise followed by a period of rest. There are a number of apps you can download to keep you on track with timing. So for example, you’d do high knees for 40 seconds, have a 20 second rest, then move onto the next exercise. We recommend doing four sets of the five exercises above, but feel free to change the length of your workout and add in different exercises as you prefer.
HIIT is hugely effective as you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time – and because of the different muscles you’re engaging, you can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously.
For a circuit you’d do 10 reps of each five exercises back to back followed by a couple of minutes of rest – then repeat this set three or four times. Circuit training typically involves more strength moves, while HIIT focuses on cardiovascular, but there’s no reason not to mix up the two.
Whatever your choice of workout, don’t forget the importance of eating a nutritious meal afterwards. It’s estimated that fitness progress is 80% down to nutrition, and 20% exercise – so cook yourself a balanced meal of vegetables, protein and complex carbs to refuel.
Or if you have KBK ready meals in the fridge, simply heat up whichever takes your fancy. Our meal prep options are designed to give you the right fuel for your goals. So, whether you want to lose weight, get fitter or gain muscle, you know you’re eating exactly what you need for the results you want.
What are the benefits of exercising outdoors?
Fresh air and being surrounded by greenery are known mood improvers, helping us release feel-good hormones like dopamine. Pair this with the natural endorphins you get from exercising, and you’ll certainly finish your workout with a smile on your face – as gruelling as it might feel during!
As well as boosting your enjoyment of the workout, exercising outdoors has increased fitness benefits. Uneven surfaces and the unpredictable elements challenge your body to work harder – to the point where you can burn up to 20-percent more calories.
Then there’s the fact that whenever you’re outside and exposed to sunlight, you’re improving your body’s Vitamin D production. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to brittle bones, autoimmune diseases and heart problems, so unless you’re taking a supplement, it’s crucial to get out and about for your overall health.
And of course, while you’re shedding pounds at the park, you’re saving pounds in your wallet by no longer paying for that pricey gym membership. Win-win!
Are outdoor gyms any good?
Keep an eye out for outdoor gym equipment in your local parks. You may not find the treadmills, squat racks and free weights of a normal gym, but there’ll often be pieces of kit you can use to take your workout to the next level.
Pull-up bars are one of the most popular. Even if you can’t do pull-ups unassisted, you can attach a resistance band to the bar to improve your strength and slowly master the movement.
Resistance bands for upper body strength are also common. Although they might not have the weight range you’d get in the gym, you can do more reps or use them as part of the circuit to make them more challenging.
Bear these tips in mind for your next outdoor workout – and make the most of the resources around you, too. Sometimes getting creative is just as rewarding as the exercise itself!