If you’ve started to notice the joggers, dog walkers and all-around outdoor enthusiasts popping up in your neighbourhood over the past few weeks, you’re not alone. With the nicer weather comes that need to get outside and make the most of these warmer months (because, before you know it, it’ll be snowing again).
The good news is that if you’ve got fitness on your mind, there are just as many strength and toning exercises you can do outside — for free — as there are in the gym. Goodlife Group Fitness Instructor Shelly Lockless showed us how adults can “play” at the park too, all while tightening and toning your arms, legs, stomach and butt.
She recommends starting with a brief, five-minute cardio warmup (jumping jacks or perhaps walking or jogging to the park). Then, perform 10 to 15 reps of each exercise. Circuit through them all two to three times for a complete workout; head outside three times per week to see results in as little as four to six weeks!
These free outdoor workouts will have you summer ready in no time
Slide DipsBrace your core, keep your elbows in towards the body, your hands close to your butt and make sure your legs are at a 90 degree angle (knees shouldn't slide over the toes). Slowly, lower down so that you're just hovering over the ground. Return to start. That's one rep.
Works: TricepsThe Loop
Monkey Bar Pull-UpsBeginners can start on the step, while those who are more advanced can go right from the ground. Begin with an underhand grip on the bar and a slight bend in the elbows. Brace your core and slowly pull up with a lifted chest, making sure to have as little swing in the legs as possible. Return to start. That's one rep.
Works: Shoulders, chest & bicepsThe Loop
Spider-Man SitupsThis may look a little more advanced, but you're guaranteed to give your abs a lift. Lock your feet under the bar in front of you for added support and cross your hands on your chest. Slowly lift until you're at a 90 degree angle. Then slowly lower back down to start. That's one rep.
Works: AbsThe Loop
Swinging Pull-UpsYou can do more than swing on a swing. Stand close to the swing with a loose shoulder-height grip on the chains and your feet shoulder-width apart (keep a slight bend in the knees). Then slowly lower back while keeping your torso braced until your arms are almost straight. Don't lock your elbows! Return to the start for one rep.
Works: Biceps, coreThe Loop
Reverse Swing CrunchesGet in an elevated plank position, with your feet on the swing and your hands just under your shoulders and your back completely flat. Slowly, pull your knees in towards your elbows until there's a slight arch in your back. Return to start. That's one rep.
Works: Core, arms & glutesThe Loop
Swinging Criss-CrossesHop in that swing and pull yourself back so that your core is tight and your neck is relaxed. Point your toes and slowly cross your right leg over your left. Return to centre, then cross your left leg over your right for one full rep.
Works: Core, inner thighsThe Loop
Ladder Step-UpsIf there's no ladder this works just as well on a rock or a park bench. Begin with both feet firmly planted on the ground, a light grip on the ladder for added support. Step up with your right leg and the left. Return to ground. Repeat, but stepping up with your left leg first. Once you're back on the ground, that's one full rep.
Works: Legs, glutesThe Loop
Jump-UpsAgain, a bench or any other relatively flat, elevated surface works. Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees. Lower down and then jump up onto the rock/bench, landing in a squat position and your arms raised above your head. Jump back down to complete one rep.
Works: Glutes, quadsThe Loop
Walking LungesOK so you can pretty much do this one anywhere in the neighbourhood, but it's one of the best toning exercises out there. Lunge forward with your right leg, lowering until your thigh is parallel to the ground (make sure your knee doesn't go over your toes). Then stand up straight, bringing your left foot up to meet your right. Continue the forward momentum, this time starting with your left leg. Once you get back to standing, that's one rep.
Works: Thighs, legs glutes The Loop