Our city has all kinds of great parks and outdoor areas. You can find one of my favorites at Smale Riverfront Park—it’s called the P&G go Vibrantscape. The workout spot is located under the Roebling Bridge and open all year long. Plus—it's FREE! And there is even room to dance, play on the world’s largest outdoor foot piano, and utilize outdoor fitness materials. Foot pianos aside, there are plenty of reasons to get your workout outside as well as different ways you can do it.
Here are the reasons I love exercising outside:
Heading outdoors is a way to use your body and mind in a completely different way. Using the same machines day in and day out will cause you to use the same muscles. Exercising outdoors can be more challenging. You can do the same movement (i.e. a squat) and have to recruit other muscles for the different surface. This can lead to new gains and help fight through an exercise plateau.
Research has shown that being outdoors is a great way to stimulate the mind. Connecting with Mother Nature can help combat anxiety, stress, and give you an energy boost.
Sunshine is amazing; it gives us Vitamin D, aids in fighting depression, and just makes you look amazing for photos. Sunshine gives me a burst of happiness. When we exercise outside, endorphins are released, and endorphins also make people happy.
Exercising outside will allow you to see the community. You will visit new parks, trails, and universities. What better way to connect with your community than to exercise in it?
Change It Up
Being outside, you will need to prepare for the weather. It’s important to work out rain or shine, and in the Midwest—snow! Your body has to expend more energy to overcome the climate variations. But just remember: summer bodies are MADE in the Winter.
Try this outdoor workout rain, shine, or snow. You can take these moves to Smale Park and incorporate the equipment at the go Vibrantscape.
All movements below can be performed there, and you can use the equipment for modifications or progressions. Try to focus on three main movements with short, intense intervals that will get your heart pumping.
5 sets of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds rest
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, sit back with your hips, then reverse the motion to stand up. Head and chest up, drive through the heels. Use a bench for a tool, sit down on the edge of the bench, drive through the heels and stand up, squeezing the buttocks. Sit back down, buttocks move first, bend knees, and find the bench. This is fun to do at Serpentine Wall.
Lower your body to the floor, position your legs behind you into a push-up position, lower down, push up, then draw your legs under your hips and hop onto the bench and land softly on the knees. The bench makes for the perfect push-up modification.
Plant your hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders, ground your toes in to the ground, squeeze those glutes, and engage your core. Be sure to keep a neutral neck and spine, with your head in line with your back and remember to breathe.
Need more motivation? You can see examples of other people exercising at the go Vibrantscape at Smale Riverfront Park and applying various workout techniques that are outdoor accessible in the photo gallery above.