The ultimate outdoor workout

Don't waste your summer in the gym! This 30-minute outdoor workout will help you get fit while enjoying the warmer weather

The ultimate outdoor workout

Source: Web exclusive, May 2010

As Canadians, we only see the sun four months out of the year. Why waste your summer in the gym? Working out outdoors is a great way to enjoy the warm weather while taking your routine to the next level. ‘It’s motivational to have light and sun when you’re working out. Working out outside can make it much more enjoyable,’ says Toronto-based personal trainer Kathleen Trotter. Another benefit to taking your workout outdoors: It cuts back on the time it takes you to complete your exercise routine. Instead of spending time travelling to the gym, you can simply lace up your runners and head out to your local park or trail.

To help you take advantage of the summer, Trotter developed this outdoor workout that’s easy to follow and incredibly portable. Word of caution: You can’t control the elements when you exercise outdoors, so be prepared for inclement weather, uneven terrain and the dreaded doggy doo in the park. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with an outdoor workout space before you start exercising. And as always, check with your doctor before starting any new fitness routine.

Equipment:

‘ Pair of good running shoes/trainers
‘ Light resistance band (can be carried with you in a pocket or pouch belt)
‘ Water bottle

Step 1: Jog to the park, 10 minutes

Start off your workout with a light jog to a neighbourhood park. Set a pace that’s appropriate for your fitness level.

Step 2: Find a park bench and switch to strength training, 5 minutes

‘ Dips: Sit on the bench and place your hands on either side of your behind, palms facing down. Lift your hips off the bench, bend at elbows and lower your behind towards the ground and back up. ‘You want to keep your elbows in and going straight backwards, and you want to keep your butt close to the bench,’ says Trotter. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

‘ Step-ups: Facing the bench, place your right foot up on the bench seat. Make sure your entire foot, including your heel, is placed firmly on the bench. Then step up and down 10 to 15 times. Do the same with the left foot.

‘ Incline push-ups: This is a good way to do push-ups without a mat, explains Trotter. Get into push-up position with your hands on the bench seat and your feet or knees (depending on your preferred push-up style) on the ground. Do 10 to 15 push-ups.

Step 3: Jog around the park, 10 minutes

Tip: Breaking up your workout into intervals of cardio and strength training is a good way to beat boredom, says Trotter. It’s also a good motivational tool. ‘If you say to yourself, ‘All I have to do is run for 10 minutes and then I get to do something else,’ you’ll be motivated to keep going.’

Step 4: Resistance training, 5 minutes

‘ Row: Wrap your resistance band around a tree or sturdy pole. Stand and hold the ends of the band in each hand. Raise your arms to shoulder height, pull your elbows backwards and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

‘This exercise is great for strengthening your upper back, which is important because we sit so much in our daily lives,’ says Trotter.

‘ Bicep curl: Stand on the middle of your resistance band, holding the ends of the band in each hand. Keeping your elbows tucked into your waist, bend your elbows so that your hands come up to your shoulders. Keep your upper arm (from your shoulder to your elbow) still during this exercise. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Squats: Stand with your feet parallel to each other and shoulder-width apart. Stick your hips backward as if you were going to sit on a chair, then squeeze your buttocks and engage your abdominals as you stand back up.  ‘Make sure to keep your back nice and flat so that you don’t round forward,’ Trotter advises.

Step 5: Jog home, 10 minutes.

Start out at your regular jogging pace. Slow down to a light jog then a walk when you’re five minutes from home, Trotter advises.

Step 6: Stretch.

Try some of these essential cool-down stretches to finish off your outdoor workout. Then grab a glass of lemonade!

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