It can be difficult to justify wasting your summer days away inside of a gym during the nicest months of the year. You can maintain your physique by doing outdoor workouts that can be just as effective as training inside of a gym. We are going to offer you different ways to substitute your favorite gym workouts with fun yet strenuous activities outside.
Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and scenery on a lake or ocean while getting a great workout at the same time. The key to the effectiveness of paddle boarding as a great core workout is balance. The hip and shoulder rotation used to paddle is similar to the swinging of a tennis racket or baseball bat. The main difference is that you are functioning on an unstable surface, water, which requires the core to be engaged at all time in order to maintain balance. This can be a refreshing way to change up your repetitive core routines at the gym and can be a great way to enjoy your summer with friends.
Tip: Take a break from paddling and engage in further exercises while boarding. Try lying on your side in a lose fetal position and doing side crunches on your board to target oblique’s. Or you can even hop in the water to cool off and tread water for a full minute with your hands held above your head to incorporate legs as well.
Stay away from that treadmill or elliptical and enjoy your cardio by running on a trail. Running on a trail challenges your muscles further due to the uneven surface and rolling hills that trails provide and just finding your footing allows you to burn 10% more calories. To begin your cardio circuit start with a five minute jog to raise your heart rate and allow your footing to become familiar with the terrain.
Continue with a four minute run that starts with a slow jog and ends with a dead sprint while increasing speed after each minute. Next find a rock or a tree stump that you can use for stability. Cross your legs behind you and do 60 seconds of pushups. Next, using the found object, hold one arm up and do a side plank with your other hand on top of the object for support for 60 seconds. Repeat pushups and plank on the opposite side. Repeat increasing four minute run and pushup-plank circuit. For your cool down you can turn around and walk back while catching your breath and enjoying the scenery.
Tip: To challenge yourself even further, the second time around for your circuit you can add another minute to your initial run and continue to increase your speed. If you are by a tree five feet or taller, you can do a phantom chair squat by standing with your feet hip length apart and squatting against the tree for a full minute.
If you are looking for a workout to exhaust your muscles while avoiding the gym and weights, then running stadiums is the exercise for you. Start at the bottom and run up one flight, sprint over to the next flight, then run down them and repeat until you run out of steam. Stadiums are not only a great cardio workout, but man do they work your legs by targeting your hamstrings, glutes, thighs and calves. Running stairs will train your muscles the same way that weight training does but gives you more pushing power and endurance.
Tip: Still looking to push yourself further? After reaching the top of the stadiums, you can intense your workout by doing 10 burpees before running back down. Or instead of running over to the next flight, do lunges until you reach the next section over to really work your legs. It’s also very important to be careful to watch where you are going because a miss in a step can be a trip to the hospital.
As with running, cycling too is much more effective outside than at your indoor gym with it’s difference in terrain. If you are one of many who suffer from joint pain when exercising, cycling is the workout for you. Compared to running, cycling offers much lower of an impact on your knees while still engaging all muscles in your legs.
Try to increase the intensity of your workout through interval training. After a five minute warm up at a casual pace and level, increase gear between medium-high and pedal fast for 40 seconds then switch to an easy gear and slow pace for 20 seconds. Repeat this alternation four times to complete one full set and then repeat all together for 10 sets.
Tip: Take your exercise to the next level by cycling off road. Cycling off terrain for a half mile is equivalent to cycling a mile on the road. You can even try cycling to the gym and back as your warm up and cool down after your session.
Kayaking not only is a great upper body workout but hardly feels like one when you are offered such a peaceful and beautiful view along the water. Kayaking for just one hour is equivalent to burning 400 calories and is commonly used as a stress reducer through the calming effect it offers. This low impact sport is a great workout if you are looking to target back, arms, chest and core muscles.
A great way to really push yourself out on the water is through short sprints in your kayak for about 20 seconds which is about 20 strokes on each side and then give yourself a 10 second rest. Repeat this 8 times to get a total of 4 minutes for your workout. Very short yet very effective.
Tip: Keep your entire body engaged by using your legs to navigate the kayak through dropping your hip and pushing down on one side. Once you feel like you have the form down and are looking for more of a challenge, try sea kayaking or kayaking down rapids for a more intense session.
For those who literally like to live on the edge, rock climbing is an outdoor activity that builds muscle tone and engages your entire body. Rock climbing is a nonstop workout that physically challenges you and stimulates your mind at the same time. Some of it’s benefits include increasing flexibility, improving coordination and not to mention burning calories. For example 20 minutes of rock climbing for someone weighing 150 lbs burns up to 250 calories and an hour of climbing can burn more than 500 calories. Recruit one of your friends to join you for a climb so that you have someone to stop and rest with you when needed and someone to talk and motivate you to reach the top.
Tip: Before you begin rock climbing, you should hire a professional for your first climb to go over safety tips and form. Use only the grip necessary to support yourself because it is your grip and your forearm strength that is the first to go when climbing.
According to physician Ralph Paffenbarger of Harvard University School of Public Health, playing moderate tennis 3 times a week can cut your risk of death in half from any cause after researching over 10,000 people in a span of 20 years. If this alone is not enough to get you to switch over to tennis as your go to sport, then some of the many other benefits just might convert you to the net Roger Federer.
Unlike other workouts, tennis involves alertness, tactical thinking and problem solving which evidence suggests may generate new connections between nerves which promotes continued development of the brain. Playing tennis for an hour can burn up to 400 calories and is a great aerobic exercise that is an all over body workout. After you have completed your match with a buddy, I dare you to do some shuttle sprints. You are to sprint from baseline to serving box and back, then up to the net and back. You can repeat this with a rest or no rest depending on your comfort level.
Tips: A common injury from tennis is referred to as painful tennis elbow. To avoid injury you can try the wrist flexion stretch by holding your hand out with your palm down with fingers pointed to the ground. Slowly push with your opposite hand until you feel a slight stretch.
For the ultimate summer workout, hit the surf this summer at a beach near you. Not only does surfing benefit your mood, mind and tan but the average surfer burns 400 calories in an hour. Just like other water sports, surfing is a great full body workout that targets arms, shoulders, back, core and legs.
A great warm up to your session when your already out in the water with your board is through alternating strokes and duck dives. To do this take six long, fast strokes, three on each side, then using your upper body, push down on your board for a duck dive. Repeat this about 10 times for a great upper body workout to prepare you for your surf session.
Tips: Surfing requires constant balance on the surface of the water which engages your core the entire time. To build those muscles we suggest doing side planks for about 60 seconds on each side.
What a better way to enjoy a day in the sun with friends while exercising than playing a competitive game of beach volleyball. Playing a 45 minute game of volley ball burns about 585 calories and builds muscle through the upper body including shoulders, arms, and back and your lower body through your thighs and lower leg muscles. Playing on the soft sand improves both your agility and joints while providing you a better workout compared to an indoor surface.
Do a quick warm up before your game by standing with your feet hip length apart. With your arms up holding a volleyball, squat down then power throw the ball into the sand catching it as you stand up straight. Repeat this ten times to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles.
Tips: Before starting a game, be sure to do some arm rotations to warm up those arms to avoid any injury. Drink plenty of water to avoid getting over heated in the sun.
When you think of golf, vigorous exercise does not typically come to mind. You would be surprised how this leisure sport can actually be a great summer workout. A golf course on average can provide up to 4 kilometers of walking and the extra baggage you have to haul with you- clubs, balls, etc, incorporate upper body strength and muscle building as well. The director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences, Neil Wolkodoff, conducted a study in Denver, CO and found that that golfers who walk on average 36 holes a week burn up to 2,900 calories per week.
Prior to playing a game, use your golf club and place horizontally behind shoulders holding with hands in front. Step forward into a lunch and twist your core with opposite arm coming towards the lunging leg. Repeat on the opposite side to stretch out your back in preparation for a better swing.
Tips: Get off that cart and walk! Golf purists argue that walking the golf course not only burns more calories and is better for your overall health, but it benefits your score as well. This is because golfers are able to have the time to see the course ahead and can consider their options and shot selections.
At then end of the day, there are a million ways to get in, or stay in shape this summer. Lose the gym for a few months and enjoy the wonders mother nature has to offer, it’s the best way to build some muscles and memories at the same time.