Bodyweight exercises let you take your workout on the go. There are no excuses for not making it to the gym. Besides that, it’s good for you. A study published in the journal, PLoS One, found that participants had a more positive emotional response outdoor mountain hiking than indoor physical activities like a treadmill session. The researchers even recommended it for health professionals.
Being active is always a healthy choice, but it can also improve your mental well-being as a study by the University of Michigan Health System found. Ready to get rid of some stress and work out? Begin with an easy walk or jog to warm up. Here are some bodyweight moves to get you moving for a fun outdoor workout.
The bench dip targets your entire upper body, making it an excellent choice for indoor or outdoor workouts. Your triceps are the main focus, but your shoulders and chest muscles also support this move. And the great thing about this exercise is that you’ll see results quickly because it’s a smaller muscle. That sculpted look is only weeks away.
You can perform the bench dip outdoors using a park bench or picnic table. A rock or log would also work. Sit on the bench, facing away from it. Extend your legs straight out in front of you. Then, slowly lower your body by bending your elbows. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times. Rest for a few moments.
The inverted row provides a good workout for your back and lats. It will engage your chest and shoulder muscles too. Even your abs will get into the act to keep your body stable through the move. It’s essential to work both your abdominal and back muscles to prevent back strain. This exercise is easy to do with little risk of injury when performed correctly.
That park bench you used for the bench dip will work well with this exercise. A low-hanging branch or railing are good alternatives. Lie on the ground underneath the bench. Grasp the top of it with your hands. Then, exhale as you pull your upper body toward it. Pause briefly before returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and rest.
It would be hard to overstate the benefits of the push-up as a bodyweight exercise. It’s challenging with many variations for ramping up or toning down the effort. This move will engage several muscle groups including the chest, abs, and lower body. That’s one of the advantages of these types of workouts; they maximize your exercising.
You can perform the classic push-up by raising your entire body off of the ground with your extended arms. Be careful not to lock your elbows. You can do an easier version by going on your knees instead of the balls of your feet. You can make it harder by elevating your feet on a bench. Repeat 10 times and rest.
The plank is a nice segue from the push-up. The primary target is the rectus abdominis muscle, the so-called six-pack. Your obliques, pecs, and quads are also involved. Like the push-up, that makes it a great exercise for working several muscles with one move. There are also variations to make it easier or harder.
Begin by lying on your belly with your hands by your shoulders. Then, push yourself up by extending your arms. The same caution applies about your elbows. Hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Work up to one minute or more as you gain strength. Avoid holding your breath. Rest briefly before moving on to the next exercise.
The squat is one of the best bodyweight exercises for your lower body. It’ll engage your quads, glutes, and calf muscles. You’ll find it helpful to use your breath to create a rhythm while doing this exercise. You should breathe in as you lower your body. Then, exhale as you come up during the part of the exercise requiring the greatest effort.
Stand tall with your arms extended in front of you. You can also place them akimbo if you prefer. Inhale as you bend your knees until they are parallel with the ground. Make sure to keep your back straight. Exhale as you return to standing. Repeat 10 times. Take several deep breaths as you rest up for the next exercise.
The lunge works the same muscles as the squat, but it also gets your abs involved for balance and stability. You can tweak which ones take on the most work by the length of your stride. Your glutes will get a better workout if you go long. You can isolate the quads if you go short.
Stand straight with your hands on your hips. Begin with your left leg and lunge forward until your right leg almost touches the ground. Don’t let it rest here to keep the muscles engaged. Then, return to the starting position. Alternate the move with your left leg. Repeat 10 times for each side. Take some more deep breaths of that fresh outdoor air.
Standing Calf Raise
The standing calf raise may not seem like a big move, but it is an effective way to get shapely legs. The gastrocnemius on the back of your lower leg does the most work. You’ll need some type of support for this exercise such as a tree or bench.
Place one hand on it and the other on your hip. Then, raise your heels, standing on your tiptoes. Avoid overextending your heels to avoid muscle strain. Hold briefly, and return to a standing position. If you find it hard, just lean more on your support to lead you through the move. That’s it, short and sweet. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
You can finish up your outdoor workout with some light stretching that targets the muscles of these exercises. Then, enjoy a leisurely walk back to your car or home. Congratulation yourself on putting your physical and mental health first.
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