Take it Outside: 5 Tips to Step Up Your Outdoor Workout

Hiding out in a gym to get your sweat session in? Break free from treadmill drudgery and gather inspiration from your natural surroundings!

Cari Draft owns EcoTrek Fitness, which offers outdoor fitness classes throughout West Michigan.

“Anything you can do in a gym, you can do outside,” she said.

Here are Draft’s top tips for going au naturel when it comes to your next workout.

Choose the Right Location. Look for a workout spot with plenty of green space or scenery to inspire, with a mix of features such as park benches and playground equipment to utilize. Local parks and recreation websites are a good place to locate nearby parks and the types of features they offer. Don’t overlook high school tracks and bleachers as good options.

Use Your Body (Weight). You’re not going to be carrying dumbbells with you, so knowing moves that require only your body weight for resistance are key to getting in a good workout. Draft recommends using benches or picnic tables for triceps dips, modifying push-ups by placing your hands on a curb or your feet up on a higher surface. Holding planks or downward dog yoga stretches is a great way to work your entire body. Draft said one easy piece of equipment to carry is a resistance band, which you can use to perform rows and bicep curls.

Intensify Your Cardio. Work cardio in between the body weight exercises you perform. Choose bursts of high-intensity sprints, jumping jacks, step-ups on curbs or a move like high knees. Sprinting up hills can raise your heart rate – jog back down to get it under control. Running stairs or bleachers is another effective way to get a healthy cardio burst in.

Embrace Your Silly Side. You might feel a little ridiculous skipping through a park, doing burpees in the grass, or letting your inner child go wild on the monkey bars. If it really bothers you, drag along a friend, so you can laugh at your absurdly healthy selves together.

“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do,” Draft said.

Find Your Outdoor Mojo. The best outdoor workout for you is the one you’ll keep doing consistently. Try stand-up paddle boarding at a local lake or sand volleyball with friends. Keep your outdoor habit up when the weather turns cold by checking out snowshoeing or snowboarding.

“Find the right hobby to get you outside,” Draft encourages.

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Photo courtesy of Cari Draft

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