Gyms can be scary places at the best of times, especially when you’re new to fitness. But with summer in the air, the good news is that many of the exercises normally done in the gym can be done outside, perhaps at your local park or even in your own garden. The key is to start small, and slowly build up so you engage in moderate physical activity. Make the most of the sunshine, and include the following 5 outdoor exercises into your daily workout for the perfect summer fitness routine:
Rather than pounding the treadmill, get out in the fresh air and complete your run outdoors. You can use websites or apps to map your route in advance, so you know exactly how far to go and where.
Running outdoors can often be more challenging, with uneven roads, hills and strong winds to contend with. But due to these factors, you are actually likely to use more energy than if you were running on a treadmill. If you’re looking to increase your strength and endurance, try interval running. This involves running quickly in short bursts to raise your heart rate, before slowing to catch your breath, and repeating this process for the duration of your workout.
If you’re at the very start of your fitness journey, try doing triceps dips on the floor. Start by sitting down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Put your hands on the floor behind you, with your fingers pointing slightly inwards to your hips. From this position, simply bend your elbows so your body is leant back slightly, then use your triceps to push yourself up, so your arms are straight again. If this is too easy, try lifting your hips off the floor, and do the same movement.
Once you feel confident and have built up some muscle, do your triceps dips off a bench. Starting with bent legs, lower yourself towards the floor, then lift yourself back up using your triceps. Make sure to keep your back close to the bench, and work towards having your legs out straight in front of you during the exercise.
Research shows that regularly skipping for 10 minutes can be as effective at improving cardiovascular fitness as regularly running for 30 minutes! As well as its cardio benefits, skipping can help your balance and flexibility, and it is easier on your joints than running.
To increase the intensity of your regular skipping workout, try hopping side to side from foot to foot, timing it so the rope passes underneath as you swap feet. Alternatively, try jumping forwards then backwards as you skip, to engage your core even more.
If traditional push-ups feel impossible to pull off, try using a bench instead. Position your hands in front of you at a shoulders’ width apart, gripping the edge of the bench. Make sure your shoulders are above your hands, and slowly walk your feet back until your body is in a straight line down to your feet. Look down, and slowly bend your elbows to lower your body down.
Make sure you continue to breathe, taking a deep breath in as you bend your arms and then out as you push yourself back up. If you find this activity too difficult, start building your muscles by doing wall push-ups. Stand up straight, facing a wall. Place your hands on the wall at about shoulder height and width, then bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest to the wall.
If you have hand weights or ankle weights, you can include them in your outdoor workout. A typical exercise is bicep curls. Stand straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang by your sides with your palms facing away from you. Curl the weights up to your shoulders, then lower them back down again. Go slowly, and make sure you breathe at regular intervals. And remember, if you don’t have dumbbells, fill bottles with sand or water until they are the required weight. 1 litre of water weighs approximately 1 kilogram, so use different sized bottles to get a variety of weights.