Are you an on-the-go mother? Are you the 12-hour workday businesswoman? Do you want to get into shape without joining a gym? Do you love the outdoors? Do you want that rockin’ body that everyone dreams of? Perfect! This article is for you! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person is working nearly 9 hours per day. Add on chores, kids and the all-important “me” time, there’s barely enough time to sleep let alone workout. Don’t fret though, I have a solution that is creative, will save you time, can be done outside your house and definitely isn’t the “norm”!.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go to a gym or spa to get into shape. There are millions of people that workout at home. It’s easy and effective. All you need is 30 minutes, a little creativity, and the mindset to get into the best shape of your life, all from the privacy of your own yard or nearby park. To get quick results, take your workout outside.
A study from California Pacific Orthopedic and Sports Medicine found that outdoor exercisers lost an average of 7.43 pounds and 6.17 percent body fat in 8 weeks. This is because outdoors, your internal body temperature rises, due to the inclines, declines, and terrain. The more difficult the setting the more body’s metabolism rises, causing a boost in calories burned and body fat lost. Also, according to the University of Essex in England, working out outdoors can improve your mood and your self-esteem.
But before getting started, make sure you do a dynamic warm-up to get the blood pumping and tendons and ligaments loose. Depending on skill level, start with 20 jumping jacks, 20 body-weight squats, and 20 walking lunges. Remember this is to be done outside, so make sure your watching your step so you don’t sprain an ankle or a knee. Once the warm-up is over and you have started to break a sweat and the blood is pumping, it’s time for your outdoor workout.
Now you are going to need one important household item; 2 gallon jugs full of water. These will come into play as added resistance! To set the stage for your workout, you will be performing 6 exercises, 10 repetitions each, completed as many times in 20 minutes. Not only effective but convenient and quick!
You will be performing a squat into a shoulder press, utilizing the 2-gallon jugs. Each jug weighs 8 pounds and will be placed on the top of the shoulders, elbows out and hands on the handles. You will squat to a 90-degree angle and press the jugs over head, making a window and sticking your head through it. This will focus on the hips, thighs, butt and shoulder area.
You will need park bench or picnic table. Sit on a bench and place your hands on either side of your hips. Bend your elbows, bringing upper arms to parallel, then return to starting position. Your focus here is the triceps and core.
You will need a bench. Stand in front of the bench and place either leg up on it, shoe lace down. Keep other leg on the ground straight with a slight bend in the knee. Now hold a stick in your hands and bend at the hips till shoulders are parallel to the ground. This exercise focuses on the hamstrings and glutes.
You will need a park bench or picnic table for this. Stand in front of the bench and bend the knees slightly. Use arms for momentum and jump onto the bench, feet flat and knees slightly bent. Return to ground softly and smoothly. This focuses on the legs and the core.
Drop down and place hands in the grass and toes on the sidewalk. Lower your body down till your chest hits the ground and rise until elbows are locked. For more core activation, place a broomstick or stick on your back (from head to toe) and makes sure it doesn’t fall. This will engage the obliques and inner core muscles as well as working the chest and triceps.
The last exercise you will need a tree branch or monkey bars. Make sure branch is strong enough if you decide to use this option! Wrap hands around branch or bars and extend arms so you are hanging. Keep body straight and then bend at the hips raising your feet till the body makes an “L.” Make sure not to bounce but to keep everything in line and activate the core muscles.
And lastly for an added cardio bonus, break out your jump rope! What better way to get cardio in outdoors than to jump rope? This exercise is just like riding a bike, once you learn you will be able to pick up anytime ☺
In closing, working out outdoors can be convenient, fun, gratifying and can give you the results you have always been looking for, all within the privacy of your own back yard or local park. You don’t need a gym to look your best, just a few household items, your backyard or a park, and a little inspiration and perspiration. Here is to the best body of your life, as I always say, “Love Your Body.”
Written by: Aundrea Annin, NASM-CPT