For most of us across this great nation, summer has arrived in full force. And while America’s birthday might have set some of us a little behind the 8-ball with our fitness goals, there’s still plenty of time to tone up for the second leg of bathing suit season. But rather than being cooped up in a stuffy gym on a sunny day, take your workout outside and give some of these exercise ideas a shot as a way to tighten up that bod while soaking up some good old fashioned Vitamin D.
Hit Up Your Local Park
First thing’s first – every playground, while also a fantastic way to revisit your inner child, provides a perfect setting to get a solid workout in on the cheap. Most public parks even have designated equipment as part of an established exercise circuit, so keep an eye out for that. But really, you can accomplish a lot with just a jungle gym and a patch of grass as your main tools. Start out with some pull-ups and dips, mix in some burpees and bear crawls, and finish off with sprints and push-ups. All while catching a nice bronze to show off later at the pool. For an outlined, day-by-day routine you can put to good use in the park, check out The Great Outdoors Workout courtesy of Men’s Fitness.
Take to the Trails
Nature always ups the ante. So if you’re looking to burn more calories than a normal walk or run, find yourself a trail. The uneven, often-challenging terrain will challenge your body more than your typical walk, jog, or run on paved blacktop, engaging more of your muscles and firing up both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Plus, you know, nature is pretty cool.
Go For a Climb
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a skilled veteran, climbing and bouldering are incredible ways to work muscles you typically wouldn’t hit at the gym. While climbing does provide a great workout for your lats, biceps, and shoulders, it’s also a killer way to build your legs, abs, forearms, and hand strength. First-timers should always embark on their inaugural climb with the guidance of an experienced climber, most of whom are always eager to expose and educate newcomers.
You don’t have to be LeBron James or Alex Morgan to get a great workout on the court or in the field. Start a pick-up game as a way to mix business with pleasure and boost your heart rate. Or, use a variety of balls to set up a plyometric circuit. Get creative and incorporate lunges, push-ups, air squats, and planks to put together your very own, very free total body workout.
Get Out on the Water
In the midst of those summer scorchers, some of Mother Nature’s most generous blessings are bodies of water. In addition to cooling you off, they can also provide a great arena to tone up. Take stand-up paddleboarding, for instance. An awesome total-body workout with a major, unexpected emphasis on your core strength and balance. Or kayaking, which is a great upper-body torcher/cardio combination. For the more adventurous up for a challenge, hitting the surf is also a great option – even taking a longboard out past the breakers and paddling around is a way to boost the heart rate and chisel those back muscles.