Summertime fitness: Why I love exercising outside

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I am aware that a lot of my posts recently have been about how much I love summer, and how everyone should get outside and make the most of the amazing summertime and blah, blah, blah. It’s lovely to write positive stuff like that, but at the same time, it’s a pain when the weather doesn’t play ball (sorry for the sporting pun there!) and literally ends up raining all over the suggestions I have made for fun activities, and makes me look like some kind of crazy girl who is obsessed with the summer.

ANYWAY, despite all of the above, I am still going to write and share this post about why I love exercising outdoors. I mean, the reasons are pretty obvious, but maybe it will inspire some of you to get outside and get moving a bit, or if not, then at least you can enjoy my very questionable photography skills depicting my local park. Yey for you if that’s the case.

So, why do I like working out in the outdoors?

  • You get less sweaty because there is often a little bit of a breeze which cools you down and has the added bonus of drying any sweat you might have. Sexy.
  • You get to breathe actual fresh air. Which is a welcome change to breathing air which is literally conned to within an inch of its life in an office.
  • Mixing it up is so easy. Instead of being confined by the different areas of the gym, you can literally run wherever you want.
  • You don’t need any equipment. Yes, you can use equipment outside if you want, but you can get a perfectly good workout in using a local park, or even just your bodyweight and the lawn.
  • You can do a workout anywhere. You don’t need to drive to the gym, or schedule around the timing of an exercise class.
  • Timing is not a problem. Feel like exercising at 6am and the gym doesn’t open until 6:30? Not a problem. Want to get a run in at 7pm on a Sunday when the gym closes at 6? Easy.
  • There is the added bonus (I’m sure, though not scientifically certain) of vitamin D if it’s sunny when you exercise.
  • You get to enjoy the outdoors at the best time of year. I absolutely love heading out to the countryside near our house and running on what I call ‘the moors’, though I don’t technically think they are actual moors. It’s gorgeous though, and summer evenings are just the most beautiful. All of this makes it nice to exercise – it’s a lovely environment to run in, and it beats running on a treadmill in a gym at least ten times over.
  • It’s good to make use of the things our council tax has paid for. Hello special, dedicated exercise equipment in the park!

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Those are the main reasons why I love exercising outside, but what do I actually do? Here are some ideas…

Go to the local park and use the equipment which is already installed (perhaps for actual workout purposes, some not so much….) Some ideas of things to do are:

  • Tricep dips using a bench
  • Press ups on a bench
  • Step ups using a bench (check it’s not wet before you do it though, otherwise danger of slipping is HIGH)
  • Suicide runs using any flat surface – we have a kids sports pitch which is perfect.
  • Press ups on any flat surface
  • Using a child’s swing (the kind which has sides, not just a flat swing) in place of a TRX to do TRX rows like this
  • Toe taps on pretty much anything less than 30cm off the ground. There is usually something in the playground which will work!
  • Stair workouts like this one, using any steps there are.
  • Burpees. Yep, we all hate them, but they’re easy to do ANYWHERE.

Other outdoor things which are super easy to do are:

  • Skipping. I bought my rope from Decathlon and it was cheeeeap. I like to do skipping intervals, so I skip for 50 jumps, then do a set of exercises (e.g. bicep curls), then skip, repeat the exercise, for 3 sets. Then move onto a different body part e.g. 50 skips, then a set of sumo squats – repeat three times. So basically, just do your normal workout, but do 50 skips in between each set.
  • Any exercises using your body weight. Squats (normal, wide, sumo), press ups, tricep dips, step ups on any steps, plank, side plank (you can add in a twist to this if you want), lunges etc. The list is almost endless.
  • Running. You literally only need a pair of trainers.
  • Yoga. If you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Bootcamp. It’s easy to find a local bootcamp that’s held outdoors nearby. I have tried a few, and the one I love is local only, but there are some that are chains with bootcamps up and down the country. The key thing is to not be afraid to try a few different ones, as you need to find a trainer you like and who pushes you without scaring you off.
  • Walking. I know this sounds like a bit of a cop out, but hear me out. YES running puts more of a strain on your body and cardiovascular system and so is better for weight loss and so on and so on. But it’s just not possible for everyone. So if you can’t run or do bodyweight exercises, or if you’re tired, still get outside and go for a walk. We have a little circuit we do near our house, it’s not long and literally takes 30 minutes, but it gets us out and about and enjoying fresh air.
  • Any workout you normally do at home, just do it outside! I take my exercise mat, a couple of dumbells and a skipping rope outside either onto the lawn or the patio (depending what I want to do and how wet the grass is!), and just do my normal workouts, but in the sunshine and fresh air. It’s great.

There are also some great articles with workouts in them:

This one from Shape gives you a total body workout just using a bench.

This article from Fitness Magazine is a great 30 minute outdoor workout with no equipment. But maybe wear a few more clothes than the model in the pictures is – I’m not one for doing squats in my knickers in public. Haha how British and prudish does that sound?!

This article also has some great ideas for new bodyweight exercises you might not have heard of before. So if you’re wanting to mix things up a bit this could be great for some new ideas.

This Women’s Health article has a great mixture of workout ideas and info on the benefits of exercising outside. A good combo!

I hope that’s helpful and gives you some kind of inspiration to get outside and doing some exercise. I really need to get back on track with my outdoor cardio – I’m sorted in terms of outdoor workouts, but just skipping isn’t really enough cardio for me, I need to get back into doing some longer runs more regularly. Please do share any workout tips you have in the comments, or links to good workout ideas.

India xx

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