On a sunny fall day, it can be tough to resist the draw of the outdoors. Instead of sticking to your usual routine at the gym, consider moving your workout to a local park. With a little creativity, it is possible to get a great workout in without using any fancy gym equipment. Next time the weather is good, consider trying one of these fun workouts that are perfect for a day at the park. By using gravity and your own body weight, you can strengthen and tone your muscles in a series of workouts that will leave you looking and feeling your best.
Park Workout #1: Use a tree for a new plank challenge.
If you have mastered traditional plank workouts, consider upping the difficulty by incorporating a sturdy tree. Place your elbows on the ground, facing away from the tree, and walk your feet up the tree until your legs are straight and your body is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 10 to 60 seconds, depending on your fitness level. Rest for 10 seconds and then repeat the exercise. If you are not quite ready for the tree, you can modify this exercise by placing your feet on a low step. This will be more difficult than a traditional plank but not as difficult as the tree plank.
Park Workout #2: Perform park bench push ups.
Stand 3 or 4 feet behind a park bench with your feet shoulder width apart. Place both hands palms down on the top of the bench. Your elbows should be straight and your hands should be slightly farther apart than your feet. Use your abs to create a straight line from your feet to the top of your head.
Lower yourself down into a push up position. Push off hard to return to the starting position. Just before your elbows are straight, lift your right hand, touch it to your left shoulder, and then put it back onto the bench. Repeat with your left hand. If you have mastered basic push ups, these park bench push ups can be a fun new challenge for you to work on. Aim to complete two sets of 10-12 repetitions. To further increase the difficulty, perform this exercise with your palms resting on the seat of the bench rather than the backrest.
Park Workout #3: Monkey bar pull ups.
Most neighborhood parks are equipped with a playground and most playgrounds have some form of monkey bars or a jungle gym. Using this, you can work on your upper body strength without any expensive equipment. Hang from the bar with your arms straight and your feet lifted off the ground. Pull yourself up so that your chin is higher than your hands. Slowly lower yourself down and repeat.
The best way to increase your endurance is to use a series of descending repetitions. Perform 10 repetitions, take a short break, perform 9 repetitions, take a short break, and continue with one less repetition in each set until the 10th set in which you will perform only one pull up.
Park Workout #4: Jump squats.
Unlike traditional weighted squats, jump squats do not require barbells or weights. Place your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Once you reach the lowest point of your squat, engage your quads and abs and jump up as high as you can.
Perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions. Alternatively, you can perform this exercise using the technique of descending repetitions outlined above.
Park Workout #5: Go for a run.
It is easy to see why so many people enjoy running when the weather is nice. Running is one of the best cardio workouts you can get and you do not need excessive training or preparation to start. If you do not have any previous experience with running, consider downloading a free training app. Thousands of new runners have had success following programs such as Couch to 5k. Lace up your running shoes and get started. Alternate between running and walking at first. Slowly, you will build your way up to running for longer periods and walking only for short stretches.
Using these simple exercises, it is possible to create a challenging exercise program without investing in any expensive equipment. To learn more about how you can look and feel your best, contact our team at A New Me.