Into the Great Outdoors

Published May 28, 2013

Summer’s here—and while we think nothing beats a Focus Fitness workout, we know that you probably won’t be able to make it here every day.

A summer jam-packed with plans doesn’t mean you can let your exercise routine fall by the wayside.

On the contrary, you’ll need your workouts to balance all that fun you’re having (we’re talking to you, BBQs, margaritas and frozen yogurt).

So then, how can you get your daily dose of calorie-burning in while outside of a gym? Mother Nature may not produce treadmills and ellipticals, but she does offer a bounty of helpful tools when it comes to getting your workout on.

Here are a few fun ways to break a sweat outdoors:

Jog on the beach. Sand’s uneven surface makes running totally different than it is elsewhere. As a result, you benefit, working out your muscles in different ways than you do when running on pavement and other flat ground. When starting out, stick with the wetter sand—the drier it is, the tougher the run.

Do step-ups on a park bench. Try to find a bench that’s about knee level, set one foot all the way on top, and step up. Make sure that you’re not pushing off the ground with your leg that’s not on the bench, and keep your movements slow and controlled. Work your way up to doing two or three sets of 20 on each leg.

Tend to your garden. Pulling weeds is hard work—and hard work is good for your body. This fun yet functional activity burns an average of 300 calories an hour and counts as a method of strength training.

Go cycling. Biking in a gym just isn’t the same as being outside, feeling the wind against your face and seeing the path stretch out in front of you. Grab your bike (or rent/borrow one if you don’t own one), and find the nearest bike path or safe roadway to ride on. Doing intervals—alternating periods of a steady pace with a sprint—will give you extra fat-boosting potential.

On vacation? Head to the nearest high school stadium. There, you can jog around the track, kick a soccer ball on the field, and run stairs through the bleachers. Add squats, push-ups, and other exercises of your choice to make for a nice circuit workout.

Challenge yourself at an adventure park. Everything you loved on the playground as a kid is supersized at an adventure park, also known as a ropes course. Fly through the treetops on ziplines, climb cargo nets, balance on logs suspended in air, and navigate your way across tightropes on these courses, designed to test both your physical and mental agility. You’ll use muscles you never knew you had—plus you’ll earn bragging rights for conquering the obstacles.