Home workouts are becoming routine for many. It's cheaper and more convenient than going to the gym and dozens of classic exercises can be done on a living room floor. There are, however, limits to what you can do in your house or apartment. Important cardio and full-body movements may not be possible in smaller spaces, especially for people in small or shared dwellings.
Luckily, several amazing workouts can be conveniently done from a local park, backyard, or hiking trail. It's not much further than your living room, and you'll reap even more healthful benefits.
Wind sprints are an efficient cardio exercise. Choose a flat, open area and sprint across, aiming for 15 seconds. Take 45 seconds to walk or jog, further or back, and then sprint for 15 seconds again. The intervals can be adjusted to 30 seconds or 60 seconds each and can be repeated multiple times for a full cardio workout.
The short intervals make this exercise effective and accessible. It's important, however, to stretch properly before starting and not to force the movement. If you've been jogging or running for a while, or do a lot of other cardio workouts, you can aim for 80 to 90% of your max speed during the sprint.
This classic aerobic exercise works well in outdoor spaces, where there's little risk of knocking over valuables, hitting the ceiling, or irritating the downstairs neighbors. From a standing position, simply jump up, spreading out the legs and swinging the arms up, landing with legs apart and arms above the head. Jump again, bringing arms back down to the sides and legs together. Then repeat.
This aerobic exercise is easy to do in gardens or parks with limited space, and you don't need any special equipment.
This exercise requires some practice, so be sure to start at your ability level. Starting in a squat with the feet shoulder-width apart, drive through the feet and stretch upwards to jump, bringing the arms up or out to the sides. Focus on landing gently with soft knees, then lower back to squat. The key is power and smooth, continuous movement.
Agility drills are endlessly customizable, simple workouts that test balance, core strength, and spatial awareness. You can build your own obstacle course using rocks and sticks as markers or simply move on instinct.
Clear a space and then run back and forth across it, do side shuffles, grapevine steps, high kicks, and any other quick movement. The key is to have fun and challenge dexterity.
Jump ropes are a cheap and easy-to-find workout accessory, and they open up a whole world of fun aerobic exercises. They're also undeniably made for the outdoors. The simplest jump rope exercise is to hold one end of the rope in each hand and swing it overhead, jumping to let it pass below the feet. It's harder than it sounds — or than you might remember from when you were a kid.
Once you master this basic move, you can incorporate interesting variations, like jumping with one foot, jumping from the side, and reversing the rope's direction.
This exercise can easily be incorporated into a daily walk. Find any long, smooth, narrow surface like a sidewalk curb or fallen tree. Walk along with one foot in front of the other, for at least six feet. Turn on the balls of the feet and walk back across in the opposite direction. Balance and strength both challenged with this one.
A simple exercise that takes things one step above a side shuffle, the side leap targets the leg muscles. Stand on a flat surface with feet together, then bend the knees and leap as far as possible to the right, landing on the right foot. Without lowering the left foot to the ground, bend the right leg and leap back to the left foot. This exercise is challenging but fun.
For those who have access to local trails and want to take their workout to a new level of intensity, trail running can be a great challenge. Running up a hiking trail requires more dexterity and effort than running on a treadmill, even on an incline, because the ground is not level and there are hazards to avoid.
Exciting as it is, trail running can also be more dangerous. Always go out with a friend, stick to marked paths, and make sure you have good shoes.
Horizontal crunches are the outdoor cousin of the classic living room exercise. Using either a sturdy tree branch or monkey bars at a local park, find a firm hold and then lift your knees into your chest. This move can build ab strength if you have the right posture, but it's hanging arm strength you'll really notice.
If using a tree branch, just make sure it's strong enough to support your weight!
One great way to get moving and to help out the community at the same time is to volunteer. There are lots of physically demanding options to choose from, from weeding local parks or collecting litter to walking dogs, delivering groceries, cutting grass, and shoveling snow. These all require full-body involvement, not to mention social interaction.
Look up local volunteer organizations or simply ask around their neighborhood for someone who needs help.