Are you tired of toning up indoors? After thawing out from a long winter and enduring more than a year of quarantining, it’s safe to say we could all benefit from a little change of scenery.
And one of the best ways to conquer cabin fever is by shifting your workout from the confines of your home to the great outdoors.
The combination of fresh air, sunshine, and serene scenery creates a therapeutic trifecta that soothes the soul. Al fresco fitness strengthens your sense of well-being by boosting your energy level, enhancing your mood, squashing stress, and reducing blood pressure, as well as improving mental clarity and concentration.
Spring is a perfect time to switch up your workout setting. And you don’t have to go far from home. Create your very own open-air workout wonderland with these two training circuits that can be done from either your driveway or anywhere with a tree. So whether you are a city dweller or a suburbanite, there is an exercise routine suited for your specific environment and needs.
An outdoor workout is like a breath of fresh air for your fitness routine.
The pavement in front of your garage doors can be used for far more than just parking your car. This stretch of street provides just the right amount of distance to perform pulse-pounding plyometrics. Don’t have a driveway? Set up driveway-length markers — such as cones — at a nearby park. To maximize your efforts, repeat this entire aerobic arrangement three times with minimal rest between exercises.
From your starting point run to the end and back at a steady pace. For your second and third round, try increasing your intensity level.
Stand tall, resting your hands on your hips. Take a step forward with your right foot and lower your body into a lunge. Your front knee should be over your ankle, while your back knee is beneath your hips. Avoid dropping your back knee to the ground.
Push through your front heel to stand and bring your feet together. Now perform the same movement but with your left foot. Continue this walking sequence until you reach the end of the driveway, then carefully walk or jog backward to the starting point. By learning to move in reverse, you can strengthen your brain.
Shift your stance so the side of your body is facing your driveway. Lower your body into a partial squat
Quickly shuffle your feet by stepping with your right, bringing your left in to meet it, then repeating that movement down to the end of the driveway. Your feet should be parallel throughout. On the way back up, lead with your left leg.
Branch out from your run-of-the-mill resistance routine by using a tree as your toning buddy. You will need a resistance band for these exercises. For your safety, always examine your band for tears before use. Complete the entire circuit three times.
Fix the band around the trunk of the tree so it’s at about rib height and is even on both sides.
Firmly grip each end. Keep your weight in your heels, hinge back at your hips, and lower your body into a squat. Hold for two counts. Now push through your heels to stand, pull the band back until your hands are by your ribs, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Repeat 10 times.
With the band in the same position, turn your body away from the tree, holding the handles by your ribs.
Take a step forward with your right foot to apply some tension to the band. Your body weight should be resting in your front heel with your knee behind your toes. This stance is to help stabilize your lower body as your upper body moves. Your lower body should not move at all. Keep your shoulders back and gaze forward as you pump your arms out and back in. Avoid locking your elbows during extension. Move at an even pace for 10 counts.
Stand close to the base of the tree and rapidly tap your toes against its surface for 30 counts (15 per foot). Tap gently. You don’t want to chip bark off the tree. Keep your shoulders back, neck relaxed, and eyes slightly forward to prevent hunching.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.