Gym too expensive? Overcrowded? Too far away? Read our BAMbassador, Laura Kennington’s, guide to outdoor fitness.
In busy lives, exercise is often one of the first things to get taken off the schedule. Cost, convenience and confidence are all reasons that people frequently cite as barriers to exercise. But, there is an answer to all of these things. With the weather getting warmer it’s time to move the workout outside! Exercising outdoors has numerous benefits; boosted mood and increased Vitamin D, the constantly changing terrain means your body is working harder to adapt –strengthening connective tissue (less injuries!) in the process and, best of all, it can be done anywhere and it’s totally free! Here are some of my favourite exercises to do. I throw these in to my routine amidst cycling and trail running. They’re all centred on building a strong base for my endurance challenges.
The perfect example of a brilliant exercise that you need no equipment to do! These are essential for leg strength – the explosive jump really helps develop power. They also help improve muscle stabilization and are a efficient way of toning your legs!
Bulgarian Split Squat:
If I’m doing this at home, I hold kettlebells on either side. If I’m in the park, I just slow down the cadence and increase the repetitions. These are great for building leg strength and flexibility. I do a lot of cycling so I really love the added stretch on the hip flexor. Good for improving your balance, too!
Although these obviously target the triceps, they are great for increasing overall upper body strength. Increased strength in your arms and chest means greater strength training potential i.e. your ability to lift more weight through other exercises or, for example, when hauling a kayak and camping gear in & out of the water! They also target smaller stabilising muscles as you have to control and balance your body throughout the exercise.
One of the best exercises to include in your routine! Push ups are a full body workout – targeting arms, abs and lower body all at the same time. To increase the challenge on stability I like to tap my left arm to my right shoulder (and vice versa on the other side) in between each and every repetition. There are tons of variations – helps keep things interesting and means you’re constantly challenging yourself.
(Incline) Press Ups:
Incline push ups are easier so if you struggle to do regular push ups then using a park bench is a fantastic way to start building up the strength needed for a classic push up.
A strong foundation is vital no matter what you do. The humble plank is of the best exercises for core conditioning but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance. A brilliant exercise in its own right but you can also mix it up by adding in alternate toe taps to the side and back to the centre or by rocking the body forwards and back whilst keeping your body line nice and straight.
Side Plank with Twist:
As above, this also targets core conditioning. However, the side plank also has the added bonus of challenging your stability and targeting your oblique muscles – as well as strengthening your shoulders, wrists and arms! To add in the twist: make sure you’re in a strong side plank position before then reaching through with the top arm underneath your torso and then straightening back up. With the freedom of the world out there, who needs a gym?