But, sometimes, whether by necessity or just a desire to try something new, you want to mix things up. When that time comes, you don’t need equipment (or even a gym) to work up a sweat and get your heart racing. All you need is some open space in the great outdoors.
Your neighborhood park is more than just a place to walk your dog or feed some ducks. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a workout. Studies show that outdoor exercise is more dynamic than the indoor variety, creating more enjoyment and less feelings of fatigue.
Research also shows that being outside reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves mood. It even burns more calories as your body adjusts to factors like wind and changes in the terrain. Throw in the ability to score some extra vitamin D, and science is really in favor of you taking your next workout outside.
Your Total-Body Park Workout
“Parks are a great place to be active and have fun outdoors,” says Aaptiv Trainer Kenta Seki. “You can get a jog in or play with friends, and also get in a strength workout even if you don’t have any equipment.” For proof, he offers this quick bodyweight workout that you can do at the park. “It will challenge your total body and burn some serious calories,” he adds.
Follow Seki’s program below, performing three sets of the instructed amount of reps. At the end, you’ll be gasping for air, reaching for water, and, most importantly, you’ll be in better shape than when you started.
Three sets of 20 reps
Jump squats build strength and endurance throughout your lower body, from your glutes down to your calves.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then spring back up, pushing through the floor to propel yourself straight into the air. Be sure to land softly with your knees bent. Go right into the next rep, stringing the motions together into one flowing move.
Three sets of 15 reps
The push-up is a classic for a reason. As far as equipment-free, upper body exercises go, there’s not much that beats it. That’s because it works your chest, arms, and shoulders, and requires that you engage your core to keep your hips from raising or dropping. If you’re new to the move, you can begin with incline pushups by placing your hands on a bench, or perform push-ups from your knees.
Start in a high plank position on your hands and toes, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your back flat. Lower your body until it’s almost touching the floor, then push back up while maintaining a straight back and keeping your elbows tucked close to your body.
Three sets of 15 reps, each leg
Reverse lunges target the glutes and hamstrings of your front, stationary leg. And, because they don’t propel your weight forward like front lunges, you’re less likely to suffer a knee injury if performed incorrectly.
Stand upright with your feet slightly apart. Take a step backward with your right foot, and lower your hips toward the ground until your front leg is parallel to the floor. Maintain a significant bend in your back knee, while keeping your heel lifted. Return to the starting position by pushing through your front foot. Alternate legs, and repeat.
Three sets of 20 reps
Dips build strength and endurance in your triceps and shoulders. You can perform dips on the ground, but employing the nearest park bench allows for a deeper expression of the exercise. Keeping your knees bent and your feet flat puts less stress on your upper body and is easier if you’re new to the move. If you’d like a greater challenge, try extending your legs out straight in front of you so that you’re resting on the back of your heels.
Place your hands behind you on a bench or other raised platform, and extend your legs in front of you. Bend your elbows to lower your hips toward the ground until you feel tension in your triceps, then raise back up to the starting position.
Three sets of 15 reps
This common abdominal exercise targets your core. To perform sit-ups safely, you should always move slowly to avoid using momentum, and keep from pulling on your neck.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows flared to the sides or cross your arms over your chest. Engage your core to bring your chest up toward your knees. Once at the top, slowly return to the starting position.
After you’ve mastered Seki’s workout above, search in the Aaptiv app for more bodyweight workouts, and you’ll find an arsenal of programs that can be performed anywhere—yes, even at the park.