Outdoor exercise is a fantastic way to mix up your fitness regime. Whether you’re focused on muscle building, strength training, getting fit, toning up or losing weight, you can do it all in the great outdoors.
Depending on your location, the season and the weather that day, these factors will certainly dictate how, when and what exercises you do, but it’s important to not turn these factors into excuses.
Being motivated to exercise is crucial if you’re to achieve optimum health. Avoid excuses by turning external factors such as weather into a reason TO exercise, rather than to avoid it. It’s just a matter of how you’ll work around the weather and other factors that could stand in your way from getting an exercise session in for the day.
As a Triathlete, 90% of my exercise training is done outdoors, so I know how it feels to look outside, see the rain and clouds and want to stay in my warm bed. But staying focused on my big picture of health, achievement and life purpose is what keeps me motivated to pull back the sheets and get moving.
With this all in mind, let’s discuss some options for outdoor exercise and workouts. From choosing a location such as the beach, a track, a park, a field or a court, there will be something nearby that you can use as your gym for the day.
Let’s get into it…
Co-Founder Exercises.com.au, Personal Trainer, Triathlete, Qualified Chef, Father of 5
4 Smart Tips For Exercising Outdoors
Ready to take your workouts outdoors? If you’ve been working out in the gym and are looking for a change of pace, moving your workout sessions outdoors might just do the trick.
Outdoor workouts are fun, can be effective, and help bring variety to your exercise program. If the weather is right, be sure that you take advantage of it because you never know how long it will last.
To help stay safe and get the most effective workout possible, there are some quick tips that you must know and remember about exercising outdoors. Let’s go over what you need to consider for best results.
Avoid Peak Daylight Hours
The first thing you’ll want to be doing for safety reasons is avoiding peak daylight hours. When the sun is beating down on top of you, you’ll be at a higher risk for heat stroke, not to mention at a higher risk for skin cancer as well if you aren’t protected.
Try exercising first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening.
Focus On Hydration
Next, be sure that you are paying close attention to your hydration as well. When the sun is out and you’re sweating more than normal, it’s important that you replace lost fluids. Many people hydrate well while in the gym because they have direct access to a water fountain.
Outdoors however, that fountain is no where to be seen. Be prepared with your own water bottle. If you are doing a cardio workout where you are moving around considerably, find a way to attach that water bottle to you or your equipment (bike etc).
It will be important that you focus on getting it in if you are going to feel and perform your best.
Wear Proper Footwear
It’s also a must that you ensure you are using proper footwear as well. While you might be able to get away with wearing worn out shoes in the gym because you have nicely padded surfaces beneath you (be it the treadmill or a rubber gym floor), when outdoors in the wilderness or on pavement, you have no such thing.
If you hope to prevent injury, it’ll be critical that you are providing the support that your body needs. Likewise, if you are doing any activity that requires equipment, be sure that you are using the proper equipment as well.
Your risk of injury will be slightly higher while outdoors, so do everything you can to prevent it.
Think Outside The Box
Finally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. When most people think of ‘outdoor’ exercise, they tend to immediately think of cardio training. But, you can just as easily perform a strength workout as well.
Simply stack together some bodyweight exercises or if you want, consider taking a set of dumbbells outdoors and doing your usual strength training circuit. Alternatively, try out an exercise that you may have never done before. Rowing, rock climbing, or cycling.
Getting this variety into your workout routine can increase your results and keep you excited about exercising. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe, improve performance, and have fun while exercising outdoors.
Cold Weather Outdoor Exercise Tips
If you’re planning to head out for a workout outdoors despite the chilly temperatures, there’s some important facts that you need to know before you begin. Exercising outdoors is a great way to get some fresh air, get a change of scenery, and bring some variety to your fitness program but if you aren’t careful, cold weather can put you at additional risks that warmer weather simply doesn’t bring.
Let’s go over a few of the main cold-weather exercise do’s to stay safe and get the most out of your session.
First things first, be sure to dress in plenty of layers. Remember that you can always take clothes off, but you can’t put more on once you’re out there. You’ll start off cold as you begin exercising and as your body heats up, you’ll need to remove some layers.
If you don’t dress accordingly, you’ll either be too cold at the start or too warm halfway through. Layers makes it possible to adjust your clothing based on your core body temperature.
This can help you avoid overheating as well as help you avoid feeling uncomfortable due to being cold.
You’ll also be at risk for dehydration if you aren’t careful in colder weather. You’ll likely find that you don’t get as thirsty in cold weather like you do when exercising in the heat but you are still losing water due to perspiration.
Staying hydrated is a must. Fill up a water bottle before you go out and then make sure that its empty by the time you finish the session. You may have to consciously remind yourself to keep drinking water if your thirst simply doesn’t prompt you to.
And remember, just because sweat isn’t dripping down your face or back does not mean you don’t need fluid. If you are exercising, you need water.
Another smart move when exercising out doors is to consider doing a brief warm-up indoors first. Do some light cardio and then move into some range-of-motion stretches. Then once you are feeling warmed up and ready to begin, head outside and you’ll find the transition to the cold isn’t nearly as bad.
By doing this, you’ll also be less likely to pull a muscle. When your body is still cold and you start out into your intense exercise, you could increase your risk of injury.
And for those who try to warm-up or stretch outdoors, remember that the point of this is to warm up the body, so if you are trying to do this when it’s already cold in your surroundings, it’s going to take twice as long.
Finally, be sure that you stay seen. Keep in mind that often during the cooler months, you won’t get as much bright daylight hours, so if you are exercising in the early morning or later at night, be sure to wear reflective clothing or purchase a head light or other device that will let others know you are there.
If you are exercising in a large park this may not be as necessary, however if you are running on the side of the road for instance, it’s a must. These are just a few of the main cold weather exercising tips that you need to remember as you head out.
It’s great to take your workout outdoors when you feel like it, but remember to look after your body with the right preparation.
Solo Or Group Outdoor Exercises: 4 Ways To Exercise Outside The Gym
Gym boredom is something that tends to creep on over time and if not dealt with properly, could mean a complete sabbatical from your exercise program. If you’re feeling less enthused these days to head to your normal gym to exercise, it’s time to consider other options.
By taking your exercise outside, you can still reap the same great benefits of improving your physical conditioning while enjoying yourself as you do. Here are 5 different ways that you can exercise outdoors.
If you want a low-impact form of cardio training that won’t tax your joints but will provide great cardio benefits, rollerblading should be your go-to consideration. This activity will hit your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core, all while getting your heart rate up.
As rollerblading tends to be far more enjoyable than running, you might not even feel like you’re exercising with this one.
Next up you have soccer. Soccer is an excellent team sport that’ll improve your agility as you’re constantly changing directions as you progress throughout the game.
By joining a recreational soccer team, you’ll also meet like-minded individuals, which can help you stay on track with your health goals. When you surround yourself with those who are working towards similar goals as you, it’s easier to stay motivated and keep yourself in check.
One hot fitness trend that you may want to try out is that of a bootcamp class. These classes, which are typically held outdoors will take you through a series of strength and conditioning exercises along with cardio based movements, giving you a very well-rounded workout in a 45-60 minute time period.
They’re a great way to liven up any stale workout program and see optimal benefits for minimal time investment. Another great thing about bootcamp classes is you get an instructor-led workout program for a fraction of the price you’d pay for one-on-one solo personal training sessions.
Another must-try for those who want to take their workout outdoors is bushwalking. This is a great way to get away from the busy pace of day to day life and spend some time enjoying the great outdoors.
If you often find that you don’t have much time to exercise during the week, becoming a weekend warrior and doing a few hours over your days off can help compensate. While exercising most days of the week is still ideal, don’t overlook the benefits of these lengthy weekend workouts.
Just do be sure if doing this that you build up the duration of that weekend session slowly. Don’t head out for a 3 hour bushwalk when you’ve never bushwalked before in your life or you will be paying the price the next morning.
So don’t get hung up on doing your workouts inside the gym any longer. If you need a chance of pace, give one of these options a try instead. It may just re-awaken that desire to keep up with your workout program.
Get Fit And Strong With This Kick Butt Beach Workout
Looking for a fast way to get in shape or stay in shape during summer? If so, look no further than a beach workout. Taking your session to the beach can make for a perfect way to push your muscles harder, all while catching some rays.
Let’s look at what goes into designing the ultimate beach workout and then give you a workout program you can push your body to the limit with.
The Overall Workout Set-Up
To set this workout up, you’ll want to do a combination of strength training exercises along with cardio-based exercises. This will give you the best results for your time invested as you’ll not only be burning fat quickly, but also gaining great muscular strength in the process.
Alternate between the two, doing cardio intervals while you let your muscles rest and recover from the strength training exercise just performed.
Selecting Your Exercises
To select your exercises, you’ll want to choose those that will use the sand as added resistance. For instance, push-ups work great as you’ll need to use more core activation to keep you balanced and stable. Likewise, mountain climbers will work for a cardio move as you’ll remain stationary on the ground.
Burpees however will want to be avoided as with the instability of the sand, these could lead to ankle rollovers and injury. Avoid any specific jumping exercises for this session. Running on the sand is fine, but jumping is not.
To see best fat burning results, choose exercises that will target all the major muscles in the body, both the upper and lower. The more muscle fibres you can work in any given session, the faster your overall rate of fat burning will be.
Rest And Recovery
Finally, you’ll also want to be sure that you account for rest and recovery. You want to keep your rest time minimised during this workout session to keep your heart rate up and produce the spike in metabolism that will lead to ongoing fat burning for the rest of the day.
One minute rest intervals added after every few exercises should be perfect to keep your heart rate up while still keeping you focused and feeling strong enough to continue.
The Ultimate Beach Workout
Below you’ll find your ultimate beach workout program. Keep in mind that this workout can be done two to three times per week, taking at least one day off between sessions. Beginners can do one round of the workout while more advanced individuals should be able to perform two to three rounds of it before finishing with the jog and cool down.
Remember that just because you aren’t in the gym does not mean you can neglect form as well. Still ensure you are using proper form the entire way through this circuit.
If your form goes at any time, stop and rest and only pick back up once you can maintain good form once again.
5 minutes jogging (warm-up)
15 Push Ups
15 Running High Knees
25 Metre Sprint
30 Second Plank Hold
15 Triangle Push Ups
15 Walking Lunges (15 reps/leg)
25 Metre Sprint
Rest 1 minute
60 Second Side Plank Hold (30 seconds per side)
15 Crab Walks (15 steps with each hand)
15 Bicycle Crunches
25 Metre Sprint
15 Mountain Climbers (15 reps/leg)
15 Bodyweight Squats
15 Lying Leg Raises
10 minutes jogging (cool-down)
5 minutes light stretching
Outdoor Park Workout
The great thing about outdoor exercise is that you don’t need equipment, you can just use what the environment offers you. It’s a good idea to have a outdoor workout plan or two that you can do at your local park that will challenge your cardiovascular fitness, your muscle strength and endurance, as well as your balance.
So what will you need to get this workout underway? You’ll need a good pair of running shoes to start. Make sure that you are wearing proper footwear while outside as it’s even more important than in the gym. While on the treadmill in the gym you have that flat surface of the treadmill belt to run on, that isn’t the case when you’re outside.
Next, you’ll need a running trail. Locate a park that has a trail around the perimeter or simply an open field that you can use. Finally, you’ll need a bench. You’ll be using this to perform your strength building moves during this session.
Preparing For Your Outdoor Workout
To prepare for this workout, keep your typical gym protocol in mind. Just as you would if you were in the gym, start the workout with a good warm-up. This will get the blood flowing and ensure that you are ready to push as hard as possible.
Also remember to hydrate. Do this prior to the session and bring a water bottle with you outdoors, as there may not be a tap or water fountain available. This may seem obvious, but many people forget this important point.
Finally, get your head in the zone. Do whatever you have to – listen to music, review your goals, or pair up with a workout buddy. You want to be just as focused for this session as you would be for one in the gym.
Begin The Workout
Now it’s time to get to your workout. What you’ll do for this park bench workout is alternate between a running interval and a strength and conditioning exercise.
Start with run for about 20-45 seconds. Sprint this if you can, going at a near all out pace. Ideally the sprint will take your right to the bench that you’ve found, however if you prefer to walk back to it to give yourself a little more rest and recovery time, that’s fine also.
Now when you hit the park bench, you’ll perform one conditioning exercise with one cardio or ab exercise.
Hit The Park Bench
- Incline Push Ups (placing the hands on the bench)
- Front Crunches (lying on the ground)
- Step Ups (stepping up and down on the bench)
- Lying Leg Raise (lying on the ground)
- Split Squats (one leg back up on the bench behind you)
- Mountain Climbers (on the ground beside the bench)
- Bench Dips (fingers placed on the edge of the bench)
- Burpees (on the ground beside the bench)
Once you’ve completed the sequence of 8 exercises, you’ll then want to repeat the process one more time for at least 3 circuits – The running intervals followed by the 8 strength-based exercises (3 times in total).
If you’ve still got energy, keep repeating until you can’t do any more. This outdoor workout will help build cardiovascular conditioning, enhance your strength, and get you enjoying the great outdoors.
Heading outdoors to exercise can reinvigorate your normal exercise routine and is a great way to reconnect with nature. While I’ve emphasised more intense outdoor exercise, remember that a simple walk in national park is a great low-impact way to get moving more.
Whichever direction you take your outdoor workout, the fact that you’re out and active is a fantastic habit to build into living a healthy, active lifestyle.
I’ll see you out on the track sometime!