Shayna Schmidt | May 17, 2019

The days are getting warmer (at least here in New York City!), and the last thing I find myself wanting to do is head to an indoor gym on a gorgeous day. One of the best ways to torch calories as the weather warms up is to take your workouts outdoors, where there’s plenty of room to jump around (plus you don’t have to worry about the sweat of the person who used the gym bench before you!). Your backyard or a local park is a wonderful change of scenery from a smelly, packed gym; not to mention contains more challenging terrain. Walking, hiking, or running on terrain that is constantly changing (as opposed to a treadmill) teaches the body how to adapt, plus can strengthen your connective tissues, helping to prevent certain injuries. So let’s get outside! Enjoy some fresh air and sunshine plus start that #summershred with these 4 outdoor workouts. Whether you live in a bustling city, the suburbs, or out in the woods somewhere, you’ll find success with any and all of these workouts.

  1. HIIT Ladder. Set up two cones or any kind of objects anywhere from 30 to 300 feet apart from each other. If you see two trees that are a good distance apart from each other, that totally works, too! Hint: the farther apart your objects, the harder this circuit will be!

    • Perform 10 push-ups, 10 burpees, and 10 sit-ups at the first location

    • Sprint to the second location. 

    • Perform 9 push-ups, 9 burpees, and 9 sit-ups.

    • Sprint back to the first location, then perform 8 of each exercise. Repeat until you get down to zero.

If the going gets too tough, simply decrease the pace. Jog or walk between objects instead of sprinting. The goal is to keep the movement going. You can also substitute squats for burpees, or any other lower-impact lower-body exercise, if need be. Again, modify however you like, just keep moving!

  1. Get jumping! Check out our rockstar fitness trainer Sarah Homer doing just that in this video. She found an elevated plank of wood in a park and simply started jumping over it, then crawling under it… tons of times. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, or even anything that “feels” or “looks” like traditional fitness. Does it get your heart rate up? Does it feel challenging? Then you’re exercising!

  2. Stair climbs. The exercises you can do with a set of stairs are truly endless. Ideally you find a set of outdoor stairs that has somewhere between 50 and 100 steps, but anything will do. Try these combinations when you find your stairway to heaven.

    • Sprint as fast as you can up the steps.

    • Jog back down as a cooldown.

    • 1 minute of incline push-ups with hands on the second or third step from the ground.

    • Skip-a-step (or two!) up the stairs, focusing on the climb aspect (instead of speed), and performing a reverse leg raise after each climb. How to perform a reverse leg raise? Lean forward and kick your left leg back squeezing the glutes then skip one step when you return your foot to the stairs. Repeat on the right.

    • Jog back down as a cooldown.

    • 1 minute of tricep dips with hands on the second or third step from the ground.

    • Repeat all steps at least one more time, maybe two!

  3. Outdoor yoga. Yoga can absolutely be done anywhere - a mat is beneficial, but it’s not even necessary. And even better news: it turns out that nature enhances your yoga practice in an entirely different way than a studio does. “Nature connects us to our roots,” says Dr. Matthew Baral, who led the This Is Your Brain On Nature lecture at the Sedona Yoga Festival. “The grass, the ocean, the trees are all part of our primeval world. It is where we feel most at home.” While a vigorous hike has its own benefits, practicing yoga outside can transform a stagnant routine into a heightened experience.

The ground may feel quite uneven, but what if you embrace it?! Standing barefoot in the great outdoors has a grounding effect. Rather than just visualizing your connectedness to the earth, now you actually are experiencing it. Work with the unevenness of the earth as you flow. Challenge yourself to maintain balance poses by engaging the working muscles in a more nuanced way. Feel your ankle joint and the muscles in your feet working to hold onto the earth and know that they’re strengthening every moment. Root yourself down into the ground and keep your upper body lifted!

Perhaps the best workout you can do outdoors is one that we can’t write here - because we don’t know what it is yet. It’s one that would be written just for you by your very own Livekick personal trainer!  Since Livekick can be used on any device and from anywhere with an Internet connection, you can completely feel free to take your sessions outdoors! Bring your phone or iPad (or even laptop, though that’s a larger commitment) out to your backyard, local park, roof deck, etc. - the possibilities are endless, and you can score a solid tan while you sweat! Lean and bronzed this summer; what more could you want?! Sign up today.

To sum it all up, there is quantifiable research suggesting that outdoor exercise provides greater benefits than sweating indoors. In one study, the researchers found that exercising outdoors “was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity.” Have we convinced you?! Get outside and try one of these workouts today.