Outdoor workout ideas to try this summer

With the summer break well under way, Natasha Bailey is here to tell us how the time off could impact our fitness motivation.

Photo: Fit Approach/ Flickr.

Photo: Fit Approach/ Flickr.

It’s summer, the weather is improving, so what better time to try out a new sport or a new workout? The word ‘workout’ in itself can often sound like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And, if you found a workout that you adore, then working out can become more like an addiction. Here are the top 10 outdoor workouts to try this summer:

Outdoor circuit

Circuit training isn’t for everyone. In fact, I dread it a lot of the time! However working in the sun makes getting hot and sweaty a lot better. You can find a lot of outdoor cardio workouts online which are all equally as effective. Here’s an example:

  • 10 long jumps
  • 10 push us
  • 15 sumo squats
  • 20 bicycle crunches
  • 20 mountain crunches
  • 15 burpes

Repeat this three to five times with a 30 second break in-between. Try to keep rest times between each exercise minimal.

Skipping/Jump rope

There are so many reasons to start skipping – the first being because it is super inexpensive! You can pick up a skipping rope for as little as a pound and, once you’ve purchased the rope, the workout literally costs you nothing. One hour of skipping also burns over 1,000 calories, improves your flexibility, co-ordination and muscle tone, and can also be as effective as running. Not forgetting it’s a great flash back to our childhood!

Dog Walking

Dog walking is a brilliant way to burn fat, keep fit and, more importantly, enjoy your workout. Dogs are great companions and spending time with animals can be great for relaxing and de-stressing. Walking is also a fabulous way to ease yourself into working out and exercising. Plus, the routes you take can have some amazing views!

Rowing

I’ve tried rowing a couple of times now and each time I’ve adored it! There are so many benefits of rowing; you can lose some serious weight, it’s a great full body exercise, offers a great cardiovascular workout, reduces stress, strengthens your muscles and helps your heart.

Photo: Cocoa Dream/ Flickr.

Photo: Cocoa Dream/ Flickr.

Running

Running for thirty minutes, five times a week can seriously change your life. It can keep you physically and mentally younger by adding years onto your life. If you don’t want to run by yourself, then running with a friend is a great way to enjoy this outdoor workout. For more information about running, see: The Linc | National Running Day 2016.

Hiking

Hiking is a brilliant and powerful cardio workout. It can lower your risk of heart disease and regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It’s also a great exercise for your legs, so if you don’t fancy a leg day down at the gym why not take a hike instead? You’ll improve the strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings while strengthening your core and improving your balance at the same time. Hiking is also a great form of relaxation, reducing stress levels and helping with anxiety.

Swimming

Swimming is great for toning your muscles and is much more effective than most forms of cardiovascular exercise; that’s because water is twelve times denser than air. It allows for a full body workout, toning all of your muscles at once. If you’re new to working out or perhaps recently injured, then swimming is a great form of exercise that will help you to get into shape while also supporting your body and re-building your strength. Also, if like me you’re asthmatic, then swimming could be the workout for you as it teaches you better breathing techniques and rhythms while vastly increasing your lung volume and reducing the symptoms of asthma.

Water fights

They’re fun, competitive, and cool you down on a hot summer’s day – what’s not to love? While you’re having fun, you’ll barely notice that all of the running, ducking and hiding does indeed count as exercise, as it will raise your heart rate. If you want to get the best out of your workout while making the water fight even more interesting and fun, why not add some obstacles?

Cycling

Cycling is eco-friendly, fun, relaxing and a brilliant workout. It’s a form of low impact exercise meaning it causes less strain and exercise-related injuries than most sports – unless, of course, you fall off the bike! Cycling targets most of the major muscles in your legs as you pedal while strengthening your core. What’s also great about it, is it doesn’t require a high amount of skill or a great fitness level; anyone can cycle as you have the freedom to choose the intensity of your workout!

Photo: Zachary Long/ Flickr.

Photo: Zachary Long/ Flickr.

Park workouts

If you can’t afford a gym membership, but desperately want to start working out and getting fit then make use of your local park. Parks are no longer just for children or dog walkers, but now for fitness fanatics and those who want to exercise outdoors. Here are just a few things that you can do at the park:

  • Benches: Benches can be used for step-ups, plank jacks, standing oblique crunches, box jumps, triceps dips, elevated push ups, split lunges, elevated leg raises and more.
  • Hopscotch: If there’s a hopscotch painted on the ground, then let your inner child out and go ahead and play it to your heart’s content, adding more reps, increasing the speed and reducing your break time with each go.
  • Swings: Who would have thought a swing would ever be used as a piece of gym equipment? Swings can be used for lateral squat jumps, tuck planks, suspended v-sits, glute extensions, elevated push ups, hanging body weight rows, pike-ups and even more. However, this does also test your balance, so be careful and take it easy as you don’t want to cause yourself more harm than good!
  • Monkey bars: You either hated them or loved them as a kid, but I swear you’ll soon learn to love them now! You can do hanging leg raises and tucks, negative chin ups, and pull ups on the monkey bars.
  • Spring board: Spring boards are great for testing your balance. Try squats, split jumps and triceps dips on the split board, and you’ll soon be able to feel the difference
  • Slide: The slide will be a god for you abs. Try ab extensions on the slide – you might get a few funny looks, but it will all be worth it!