I’m a big advocate for getting in my vitamin D to good old fashioned way – getting outdoors. And when the weather is nice who wants to be cooped up in a gym pumping out their workout?
The good news is you don’t need the gym equipment to stay in shape. You can use just your bodyweight and a few things found in most local parks.
As long as you can push, pull or lift something, you can get in a good workout. These days a large number of parks are actually setting up outdoor fitness equipment.
But if they haven’t – don’t get too worried, most parks have a set of monkey bars, swings and park benches – everything you need for a great workout.
Start by warming up with a 5 to 10-minute jog. If the park is close to your home, jog there. If not, jog on a trail or path once at the park. Mix in some upper body bodyweight exercises with jumping jacks and arm circles.
Using a swing
Start by holding a swing with outstretched arms. Hang onto the seat of the swing and lean back so your body is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground. Now slowly pull your body into the swing with your arms and slowly let them back out.
To work the lower body, push the swing away from you until you are about a 45-degree angle the other way. Now push one leg out behind you keeping your knee straight. Bring it back down. Either continue with this leg for a number of repetitions and then switch legs, or alternate legs between repetitions.
To work the abdominal core, assume the push-up position, but instead of having your feet on the ground, rest them on the seat of the swing. Tighten your abs as you lower yourself with your arms and push back up. Be sure to keep your back in a straight line from your head down to your heels.
Pull-up on the Monkey Bars
Find a set of Monkey Bars or any overhead bar; even a horizontal tree branch will work. Grab the bar with both hands. You may have to bend at the knees to get your full body weight on the bar. Now do normal pull-ups. For something different, grab the bar sideways with one hand in front of the other. Do a complete pull–up, move your head to the other side of the bar and do another one and then move back to the original position. Keep alternating from one side of the bar to the other.
Park bench push-ups
Find a park bench. Assume the push-up position with your hands resting on the edge of the bench seat. Now slowly push away until your arms are fully extended. Slowly let yourself back down to the starting position.
Using that same park bench, turn around so you are facing away from the bench and supported by your hands on the edge of the seat. Lower your body by bending at the elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Now push back up until your arms is straight.
Be sure to cool down after your workout by doing some static stretching. If you jogged to the park, either jog home or walk at a fast pace.
These are just a sampling of how to turn a park into an outdoor gym. Look around your park and you’ll find lots of things you can use as part of your workout.