Has your fitness regimen suffered because of lack of creativity, or the repetition of indoor activities? With summer here in full force it is time to incorporate some different possibilities using the benefits nature has to offer.
Summer is a perfect time of year to experiment with outdoor activities especially because of the longer daylight hours we get to enjoy. Here are 5 great ways to enjoy the outdoors and bust through those fitness plateaus:
Explore Nature Trails in your Area
Take the time to find and explore some nature trails in your area. If you’re a little rusty with your running, try speed walking or a walk/jog program to help loosen up your muscles. If you are just getting back to or are new to running, try this simple walk/jog program and let’s get that cardiovascular system revved up: after warming up for 5 minutes do a set of intervals where you run for 1 minute and walk for 2 minutes. Do that 10 times. Cool down for 5 minutes. Your total workout time should be 20 to 30 minutes.
HIIT the Park
If you want even more challenge then do some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in the park. Monkey bars, benches, and swings can add variety to your workouts. Look at what parks have to offer and decide how you can incorporate some fun ideas into your HIIT workout.
Here is one of my favorite workouts:
Walking lunges around the park (Lower Body – Legs and Butt) Monkey bar swings (Upper body – shoulders/Biceps) Box jump using a park bench (Lower Body – Legs and Butt) Dips using a picnic table (Upper body – Triceps) Decline abs off the slide or hanging leg lifts using the monkey bars (Abdominals) Sprint on the grass or sand (if park is on a beach nearby) (Lower body – Legs) Pull ups using the curved monkey bars
After a 5–10 min warm up, circuit through the above exercise; go all out for 30 seconds each and repeat 2 to 4 times. Cool down 5 to 10 min.
Take Your Yoga to the Beach
Why not do your yoga practice on the beach? Barefoot yoga in the sand can really help intensify your yoga practice. Yoga on the beach is a great way to wake up those secondary muscles of your hands, feet, hips, and shoulders and have you focus on your balance more than a flat surface would. For a more intense yoga workout, leave the mat behind, sink your feet into that silky sand and soak up that sunshine. They don’t call it Sun Salutations for nothing!
Climb the Hills
Hill workouts are an effective way to target the buttocks and legs not to mention give you one heck of a cardio boost. Find a hill that will take you about 1 minute to climb. Warm up 5 to 10 min then start your hill intervals. Walk or run to the top of the hill then turn around and walk back down. The downhill is your resting phase. Once your heart rate has recovered, repeat and head back up the hill. Repeat this for a total of 8 to 10 times. Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes on a flat surface. Alternatively, if you cannot find a hill, find an area where there are lots of stairs that you can climb and try stair sprinting instead of using a hill.
Go for a Ride
It’s summer—is your bike still in storage? If you can find some cool bike trails nearby dust off that seat, add a little lube and try integrating some speed drills into your ride. Warm up for 10 minutes going relatively easy. Then do a 30 second all out sprint followed by a 30 second easy ride. Repeat 10 times. Follow with a cool down period for 10 to 15 minutes.
Incorporate at least one of these workouts per week so that you enjoy and make the most of the summer months.
Exercise does not have to be strictly about the destination, it can also be a journey. It can be exhilarating and wonderful to feel connected to nature, to feel free to enjoy and take in a natural environment—things you wouldn’t normally notice if you were just driving by or working out indoors.