What if the park was your gym?
If you are on a mission to get fit and healthy, you may think joining a gym is your only option. But if pounding it out on the treadmill isn’t your thing, or the weights section fills you with dread; there is an alternative – your local park. Not only is it free to work out there; the amount of exercise you can do will surprise you. Here’s a few examples of how to make the park your gym workout.
An empty park bench is a great place to base your outdoor workout. Try step-ups to tone your legs, press-ups for your chest and dips to work your triceps. If you want to get your heartrate up add mountain climbers into your circuit. For more advanced exercises you could also try elevated press-ups or split squats where your legs are raised up onto the bench. Holding a plank will work your core to finish off your full-body routine. Then, once you’re done, you’ve got a bench to sit down and recover on!
Trees and stumps
If you’ve never tried a tree squat you really need to. First, stand with your back against a tree and lower yourself so your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as possible and feel the burn. Next, alternate between shuttle runs and tree squats to work your legs and get your heart rate racing. Tree stumps are another useful piece of outdoor equipment. You can use them for step-ups or bunny hops, and if it is safe to do so, they can also be great for box jumps or step overs.
Paths and bridleways
Following a path or bridleway while you run can be useful to measure progress. Time yourself doing a loop of the park or calculate how long it took you to run from one area to the other. Next time you work out, try to beat your time or add more distance.
You can use any space in the park to exercise. Shuttle runs can boost cardio fitness without the need for equipment while burpees work the whole body and torch calories. Static squats and lunges can be done anywhere, and if you bring a yoga mat, you can finish your workout with some core exercises. Try a circuit of bicycle crunches, flutter kicks, reverse crunches and mountain climbers to hit and tone all areas.
When the sun is shining and the days are long, heading out to the park for a fitness session is an easy way to keep up your fitness on a budget. If you struggle to motivate yourself, get a friend or partner to join you. You can even get kids involved! What are you waiting for? Grab a towel and head out to your local park to get in shape!