Now is the perfect time to ditch the treadmill and head outdoors to enjoy the last bursts of sunshine and fresh air before the summer’s over, and get fit while you’re out there! You need very little equipment to get an effective workout – a park bench will suffice, but if you have access to an outdoor gym, why not make the most of it?
How to exercise in the park
Start with a warm up. Depending on your fitness level, you may wish to tailor your warm up to suit your needs. Start by a brisk walk, or a gentle jog, for approximately 5 minutes. You should feel warmer but not out of breath. Finish the warm up with some gentle stretching of all of your major muscle groups.
If you have a park with outdoor gym equipment in it, the best way to exercise is to complete a circuit. Try to complete 60 seconds on each piece of equipment, before having 30 seconds rest, and moving onto the next piece of equipment. If you are able to, try to complete the full circuit three times. If you are feeling really active, why not jog around the park between each circuit, to boost your cardiovascular fitness?
If you don’t have an urban gym, do not despair – you can get a really effective workout simply using a park bench. Try these exercises, which again can be performed as circuit, aiming to complete 60 seconds on each exercise, before having a short rest and moving on to the next exercise.
Park bench dips
- Sit on the edge of a bench, with your hands placed directly on the bench, outside of your hips
- Feet should be on the ground, in front of you, with knees bent to 90 degrees
- Slide your buttocks off the bench, keeping your arms straight, and slowly lower bend your elbows to lower your buttocks towards the ground
- When you reach a 90 degree angle of your elbow, slowly straighten your arms, pushing your buttocks up again
Sit to stand
- Start by sitting on a bench
- Place your arms across your chest
- Without using your arms, stand up tall, before bending your legs and sitting back on the bench
Park bench press ups
- Stand facing a bench and place your hands on the seat
- Slowly walk your feet out behind you until your legs are fully extended
- Bend your arms and lower your chest towards bench, then push up, straightening arms
Park bench step ups
- Stand facing a bench and place your right foot firmly on the bench
- Keeping your right foot on the bench, step your left foot up onto the bench
- Step back down, leading again with your right leg and bringing your left foot down to join it on the floor
- Repeat with the opposite leg leading
Exercising should be fun, if you have children, why not take them to the park with you? You can get fit whilst they play! See our ‘Getting Fit is Child’s Play’ article… Have fun!