Incorporate outdoor fixtures and elements into your workout

If you’re braving the cold weather to do your exercise, you may be looking for ways to spice things up and push yourself further. Nature really is an outdoor gym, if you know where to find the right equipment.

So, here are some outdoor workout ideas incorporating things you’ll most likely see during your sessions.

1. Hill sprints and hill repeats

If you’re a beginner or intermediate fitness level, hill sprints and repeats are a great way to build up your strength and improve your form.

Hill sprints and hill repeats involve the same thing. Hill sprints are the part where you’re running up the hill and hill repeats are the slow jog or walk back down before repeating.

To do hill sprints, simply find a hill with an incline to suit your fitness level. Then start out by sprinting up the hill as fast as you can for 10-12 seconds. If this feels like it’s pushing you, but not too hard, try and finish on 10-12 rounds of sprints in a session.

Once you’ve built up your strength on that incline, find a steeper hill and repeat the process.

Hill sprints

2. Park bench workout

Park bench exercises are a great way to add some strength training to your workout.

Dips

This exercise targets your abs and thighs.

Sit on the bench with your hands on the edge. Lower yourself down, bending your knees and elbows at a 90-degree angle and keeping your back close to the edge. Slowly lift yourself back onto the bench. Repeat 15-20 times.

To make this exercise harder, lift one leg up as you dip yourself down. Do this 10 times on each leg.

Park bench workout

Step ups

Steps ups have the power to tone your lower half, including your thighs and bottom.

In a squat position, place one foot on the bench and step up, keeping your knees bent in a squat position and then come back down to your starting position. Do 15 of these on each leg.

Lunges

After a few lunges, you’ll start to feel the burn up your thighs, in your glutes and your calf muscles.

Stand facing away from the bench and put the top of one foot flat against the seat. Bend the leg that’s on the floor and straighten back up. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Lunges

Burpees

This exercise works your biceps, abs and legs in one.

Standing facing the bench in a squat position, jump backwards and lower yourself down to do a push up on the seat. Jump back to the starting position and use your arms to jump up onto the bench. Jump back down and repeat. Do this 10 times if you can.

3. Stairs workout

If you come across a good flight of outdoor steps on your workout, here are some exercises to try out.

Stair runs

This exercise is similar to a hill workout, just using stairs. Run as fast as you can up the stairs for 20-30 seconds or until you reach the top. Walk or jog slowly down and repeat 2-3 times.

Stair squats

This exercise will work your quads, glutes and back.

Place one foot on the bottom step and the other two steps up. There should be a step between your legs.

Keeping a flat back, do 5 slow squats, making sure that your back is flat and your knees don’t go past your ankles. Pivot so that the other leg is on the top step and repeat.

Stair jumps

Standing, use your arms for momentum and jump up to the next step, landing on both legs. Do this for 10 steps on each leg.

Stair jumps

4. Outdoor circuit training ideas

Why not mix and match the above exercises, along with some equipment-free movements like star jumps and walking lunges, to create a tailor-made circuit workout.

Here’s an example of a routine:

  • 5-minute jog
  • Hill sprints x 3
  • Bench burpees x 10
  • Stair squats x 10
  • High knees for 30 seconds
  • Tricep dips (using a bench) x 10

Once you’ve done one round, repeat it if you can and you have yourself a circuit!

Exercise in the cold can be made much more fun and exciting when incorporating a few of these outdoor exercises. Have a look on your usual routes for any hills, stairs or benches you could use.

And remember, if you do use any public outdoor equipment, just make sure to sanitise before and after your workout. You can do this by either wiping the surface you’re about to touch down before you start, wearing gloves, using antibacterial gel or washing your hands when you get home.

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