It can be challenging to keep up with your exercise routine on those blistery winter days, when all you want to do is curl up by the fireplace with a hot cup of tea.
If you’ve been stuck inside all winter working out on cardio machine, take advantage of warmer springtime temperatures and try moving your workout outside.
Not only is outdoor exercise enjoyable, but it might also be more effective than your indoor workout routine.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
There are many health benefits to working outside. Here are just a few reasons why:
- A 15 to 30 minute workout in the sunshine also provides your daily dose of vitamin D. Since some studies suggest that vitamin D supplements are not as dependable as they might seem, take advantage of the spring sunshine and get in your daily requirements.
- Get a better workout in less time. Studies have shown that people tend to work harder during outdoor workouts. An added bonus? They also enjoy themselves more!
- Outdoor exercise relieves anxiety and stress. Studies show that “green exercise” enhances mood and boosts self esteem, even more than indoor workouts.
So lets take this workout outside but before we get started, lets look at 3 tips to enhance our outdoor workout.
3 Tips For Getting Started
Ever since I started doing outdoor workouts, I always feel a little claustrophobic in an indoor setting. However, if you’re not used to outdoor exercise it can feel a little awkward at first.
Here are some simple tips for transitioning to an outdoor workout routine:
- Get some portable equipment. Put a few sets of dumbbells, a couple kettlebells, a yoga mat, a jump rope, and resistance bands in the trunk of the car.
- Familiarize yourself with bodyweight exercises. Not only are bodyweight workouts cheap and easy to figure out, but they’re also pretty effective! Examples of common bodyweight exercises you can do pretty much anywhere include push ups, pull ups, chin ups, squats, lunges, crunches, and planks.
- Plan your workout before you leave. Write out your workout goals and how much time you want to spend exercising so you have a structure to follow once you get outside.
With a little creativity, you’ll find that outdoor exercise is extremely open-ended. Just having a large, natural space to move naturally is so liberating, and if there’s also a nearby park you can do some upper body work on the playground equipment.
When I first started I was a little self-conscious about playing on the monkey bars and swinging kettlebells in the middle of a field, but once I got going it was so much fun I really didn’t care.
And anyways, it’s not like people don’t see you sweating in the gym, right? Who knows, you might just start a trend.
Before You Start Exercising
Three Outdoor Workouts to Ring in Spring
Here are three examples of outdoor workout routines.
The photos illustrate a few of the exercises you will use (hope you don’t mind the baby bump – I’m 12 weeks pregnant here!) 🙂
Always remember to warm up for about 15 minutes before your workout, and do some light jogging or static stretches to cool down. Give these workouts a shot and let me know how it goes!
1. Tabata Bodyweight Workout
Tabata workouts are fast, furious, and a lot of fun. This one doesn’t require any equipment except your own body weight.
Do each of the following exercises for 20 seconds each, with a 10 second break between each one. Repeat the cycle 8 times, which should take you less than 30 minutes.
The key to this workout is to do the exercises at a high intensity, so go to your max.
2. The Kettlebell Playground Challenge
This workout uses a kettlebell and the monkey bars to build upper body strength and stamina.
Kettlebell swings are great because they double as a strength and cardio tool.
If you have a hard time with the pull ups, chin ups, and swinging, you can build up your strength by hanging from the bars for as long as you can. You can also use a resistance band to provide some additional assistance.
Round 1 (No rest between exercises):
- 5 – 10 Chin Ups
- 20 One-Arm Kettlebell Swings (10 on the right and 10 on the left)
Rest 30 seconds and repeat.
Round 2 (Rest 10 seconds between exercises)
- Swing on monkey bars for 30 seconds.
- 20 One-Arm Kettlebell Swings (10 R/10 L)
- 20 Bodyweight Squats
Rest 30 seconds, then repeat.
Round 3 (No rest between exercises)
- 5 – 10 Pull Ups
- 20 Kettlebell Swings (Both hands this time!)
- 15 One Arm Row w/kettlebell per arm
3. Boot Camp Workout
This workout is as simple as you can get.
Boot camp workouts are all the rage these days, and for good reason – they can be done outside or inside, require little or no equipment, and make you tough like a soldier. Can’t beat that!
Rest for about one minute between each segment of this workout:
- Run 1 mile at a comfortable pace.
- Work on your push ups for two minutes. This is your “break” to do some skill work. If you can’t do a full push up, do a few sets of modified push ups on your knees. If you do push ups like a Marine already, then start working on your one-arm push up!
- Jump rope for 5 minutes. Take breaks as needed.
- 3 sets of 20 burpees (what’s a boot camp workout without burpees?)
- Finish off with another 1-mile run or jog.
There you have it! Like I said, the opportunities really are endless with outdoor exercise. I also like to do yoga in the park or my backyard, and our family enjoys weekend hiking trips to enjoy the great outdoors as a family and also get some exercise. Be creative, and most of all, have fun with it!
What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy an outdoor workout routine?
About Nicole Crawford
Nicole Crawford lives in Phoenix with her two spunky daughters and handsome husband. She is passionate about truly nourishing her children and instilling healthy habits at a young age. Nicole is a NASM certified personal trainer and AFPA certified pre- and post-natal fitness specialist. She is currently fulfilling the requirements to become a DONA certified birth doula. In addition to her blog, Nicole is the Editorial Coordinator and Contributor at BreakingMuscle.com and a regular contributor at several sites, including FitBottomed Mamas, The Bump, and LIVESTRONG.com. In her free time Nicole has a varied list of hobbies, including cooking, reading, knitting, volunteering, running, swinging kettlebells, and enjoying the great outdoors.
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Sounds great….I thought something similar today I wanted to workout but I thought “It’s to nice out to do this inside.” So I went and did laps in my field in the back. Alternating walk/run each loop. Thanks for the ideas I need to do this more. Err doesn’t everyone say that about exercising? Well hopefully I am going to actually start. Thanks again..
@SiobhanGagliardo That’s great! Thank you for reading and commenting, and I hope you enjoy the workouts! And don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one who says that about exercising. 🙂