Survival of the fittest
Get in shape – sans a fancy gym membership – by playing outdoors.
When it comes to working out and getting in shape, many of us think we need to spend hundreds of dollars on gym memberships, expensive fitness equipment or a personal trainer. Not so. With summer in full swing, take advantage of the warm weather and head to your local park where effective full-body exercises abound. Here we dish on our best training tips.
Remember if you’re unsure of how to perform these exercises with good technique, consult a health care professional before starting an exercise program.
Warm-up: (8-10 minutes)
Take a brisk walk or a light jog around the circumference of the park; climb some stairs or do some step ups on the park bench The goal is to increase your body temperature, warm up the major muscle groups and increase your heart rate so you are breaking out into a slight sweat, but still able to have a conversation.
Start with one set of 15 repetitions of each exercise below. As you get stronger, increase the number of sets to two. For optimal results (and to burn a few extra calories), add a two-minute cardio interval between exercises. A cardio interval could be a lap around the park, jumping jacks, or climbing a set of stairs. By doing this blast of activity in between sets, you will maintain a higher heart rate which will, in turn, improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Take a step forward with one leg and bending both knees lower your back knee towards the ground. Keep the front heel down and keep the knee behind the toes. Return to start position by bringing feet together and continue lunging (stepping) forward by alternating which foot leads. Remember to keep the body upright and the abdominals tight.
With your hands shoulder width apart, place the palms of your hands on a secure bench or picnic table with your fingertips placed forward. Keep your back straight and your feet firmly on the ground with your knees at a 90- degree angle. Lower yourself slowly by bending your elbows to 90 degrees and lift to start position by straightening the elbows.
Step-ups on bench
Step on a secure bench or picnic table by placing your full foot on the bench and lift your body weight to a standing position by straightening the knee. Alternate which foot leads. Choose a bench that is secure enough to hold your body weight and will allow you to keep an upright posture when placing your foot on it.
With hands shoulder width apart and your body parallel to the ground, keep the abdominals tight and lower your body weight by bending your elbows. Don’t forget to breath with each push up and keep the chin up. Beginners can start this exercise on their knees and progress to their toes.
Rest your elbows on the ground along with the balls of your feet. Your body should be parallel to the ground (Your back should be as flat as a plank, hence the name.) Keep abdominals tight and don’t let your hips drop to the ground. Beginners can start this exercise on their knees and progress to their feet. Hold plank position for 30 seconds; increase the duration as you get stronger. Don’t forget to breathe!