Get Out and Play: Top 7 Outdoor Exercises
: Do you remember when our parents used to yell at us to go outside and play? They would get so tired of us running around the house munching junk food and fighting with our siblings that they would practically kick us out of the house!
Well, we may not have the same child-like activities lined up to get outside for anymore, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still get out and enjoy the world! Exercising outdoors has many benefits, and they include the following:
- Little or no equipment needed to get a good workout
- No crowded gyms or obnoxious people to put up with
- No driving time to the local fitness facility
- No need to put on makeup or special clothing to workout at the gym
- Vitamin D enhancing sunshine for our skin
- The ability to workout anytime, anywhere - even on vacation
- Two words: Fresh Air
There are probably other reasons that you can think of why an outdoor workout would fit into your particular lifestyle, so now all you have to do is learn what kind of activities can be done outside.
Refer to the following Top 7 list of exercises that are sure to leave you sweaty, worn out, and feeling great when it's all over!
Like all exercises, lunges should be done with absolutely perfect form. When done correctly, a lunge will work every single muscle in your legs at some point throughout the movement, including the all important Gluteus Maximus (that's the primary buttocks muscle, for those of you not anatomically inclined).
Variations on lunges that require no equipment include; Standing Lunges, Alternating Lunges, Elevated Lunges, Rear Lunges, and Walking Lunges.
Push ups have always been one of the most effective upper body exercises, but they have somehow gotten lost in the world of shiny chest press machines and fleets of various types of exercise benches. However, the push up is still an incredibly productive exercise, and it requires no equipment whatsoever.
The 3 basic push up movements include Standard Grip, Wide Grip, and Close Grip. Alternating those 3 types will ensure maximal stimulation to the chest, shoulders, and triceps. In addition, you can elevate your hands to make the movement somewhat easier, or elevate your feet to make the movement somewhat harder.
Also, if you are really feeling brave, you can even throw in some Bounce and Clap Push Ups!
Many people simply don't understand the incredible power of doing a Squat the right way. Through improper instruction, inappropriate form, and just plain laziness, the incredible effectiveness of the Squat has been lost in the mix.
Variations including Standing Squats, One-Leg Squats, Plie Squats, Wide-Stance Squats, and Overhead Squats. Think you can't get enough stimulus out of Squats? Try doing 50 perfectly formed repetitions and see how tired your legs are!
Brutal is the best word to describe this exercise when done properly! Using nothing more than a picnic bench, a piece of playground equipment, or even just a decent size rock, you simply step up onto your elevated surface, step down, and then repeat on the other side alternating back and forth.
By keeping your back straight and your head up the entire time, you will maximize recruitment of all of your leg muscles, and you will get an incredible cardiovascular workout as well. Go for perfect form and you will quickly see the benefit of this great exercise.
The outdoor version of Chin Ups and Pull ups can be done using anything from a low-hanging tree branch to any number of different pieces of playground equipment.
When done properly, Chin Ups and Pull Ups will humble most people, even avid exercisers. Bring your body up completely until your chin is at or above your hands, and lower back to the start under control. Repeat for as many as you can do!
Don't try this one until you can run a good 100-yard dash on level ground! This exercise is just what it sounds like - running uphill. Run up a decent size hill as fast as you can, walk back to the bottom, and repeat. Bring oxygen, but leave your pride at home, or else the hill will take it from you!
This exercise is so simple, yet about as hard as it gets. Simply squat down until your thighs are at or below parallel to the ground, stay in that position, and start walking. Go about 10 steps and then walk backwards to your starting point. Repeat as many times as necessary (which won't be many) to reach total exhaustion!
As you can see, doing outdoor exercises has all of the benefits listed above including one benefit that wasn't listed - they are hard! If you are up to the challenge and sick of the gym, give your body and your mind an Earth-moment and get outside and play!
Aaron Potts is a Personal Trainer and Fitness Success Coach whose customers include consumers as well as other fitness professionals. Sign up for a free edition of his Workout of the Month Club or his value-packed Fitness Journal at http://www.fitnessdestinations.com, or visit his coaching site at http://www.ptsuccesscoach.com
Aaron M. Potts, ISSA CFT