The lighter, longer days represent the perfect opportunity to shake up your workout routine, whilst taking advantage of the mood-boosting benefits of being outdoors.
There’s a whole host of ways to exercise al fresco, without the need for fancy equipment or being a slave to a sweaty gym – here are our favourites...
Upper body park bench press
For a toned upper body, look no further than a park bench and these simple moves. Regular repetitions of tricep dips and press-ups will soon sculpt and define the upper arms and chest, so you can flaunt those skimpy summer outfits with pride.
- Sitting on the edge of the bench, place your hands slightly behind your hips with your fingers facing towards you.
- Extending your legs straight ahead, wriggle your bottom away from the bench and lower your body straight down slowly, before pressing powerfully back up.
- Keep your elbows pointing back and in line with your shoulders.
- Place your hands on the bench, slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Step your legs behind you, so you can lower your body down to the bench in a straight line.
- Bending your elbows, lower your chest to the bench and push back up.
Complete 3 rounds of 15 repetitions for both exercises.
Salute to the sun
Sun salutations are an energizing way to stretch and strengthen all the major muscle groups, increase blood flow and calm the mind. And what better place to practice them than amongst Mother Nature herself? So for the budding yogis out there, next time the sun comes out, roll out your mat in a shady spot and aim for 5-10 rounds of this ancient yoga practice.
And if ‘downward-facing dog’ isn’t your thing, why not grab a mat and spend 10 minutes meditating?
The scientifically-proven benefits of regular meditation include reduced anxiety, better sleep, and increased immune function, concentration and happiness – and like yoga, focusing on your breathing and centering yourself for even a short time each day will invariably bring about positive effects.
Ditch the treadmill
Not only is running outside more scenic, it also provides a more challenging workout, as the treadmill belt assists leg turnover and supplies a much smoother terrain, making it easier to run faster.
But don’t be disheartened if your running times are slower outdoors; it’s much better for your wellbeing to fill your lungs with fresh air and see the sights of your local neighborhood, than to be stuck in front of your gym’s TV screens.
Stop and drop: V-sit crunches
Whether it’s on a park bench, yoga mat, or midway through a sunbathing session, why not take the opportunity to squeeze in this simple core workout.
- Start in a seated position with knees bent, feet off the floor and chest lifted.
- With your arms by your side, unfold the body, lowering your legs and torso to hover above the floor.
- Using your stomach muscles, return to the original ‘V’ shaped starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
So whether you have 5 minutes to spare or an entire afternoon at your leisure, we hope these tips have inspired you to take your workout outdoors this summer. Bring on the sun!