Wonder Woman Fitness

Park Life

Posted on: March 28, 2011

Park Life

 

So it’s summer!!! The clocks have gone forward and the days are getting longer.  You will wake up to sunshine (hopefully) and hear the birds signing and the nights are ideal for being outside.  As I write this the sun is shinning and my phone told me it was going to be 11°C today, that might be slightly optimistic in Scotland but I’ll take it. 

Being outside is one of the best ways to exercise.  You get fresh air, lots of space and possibly some sunshine and if you get too hot then more likely some drizzle.  But exercising outside does not have to be all about running or cycling like you will probably see now in the parks and out on the roads it can also mean something else, something more exciting.

 So find yourself a park and tone yourself up, increase your fitness and feel better and as an added bonus no gym fees!!!  I have put together some exercises that you can do in a park all you will need is a bench or picnic table, a stop watch or watch with second hand, open space, motivation and determination.  Let’s go………………

 Always start with a 5 minute warm up.  This can be a brisk walk to a park, a wee jog, or even a bit of skipping if the mood takes you, just make sure you are warm before you start.

Step ups on a park bench/picnic table:

Step up on bench

Step up on bench

 

This is an exercise to get your heart racing, work the thighs and increase fitness.  Start by placing one foot on the bench then step up so both feet are on the bench then carefully step back down again same leg leading.  As you step up keep your back straight, tummy tight and think about your posture.  If this is a high ‘ish’ step then take your time if it is slightly smaller go as fast as you feel comfortable.  Do 60 seconds with one leg leading then 60 seconds on the other leg.


Tricep dips on park bench/picnic table:

Tricep dips on a bench

Tricep dips on a bench

 

This exercise is a real burner for your ‘bingo wings’.  Start by sitting on the bench with your hands next to you and fingers pointing the same way as your feet.  Bring yourself off the bench and lower your bum to the floor with your elbows going backwards as they bend.  The straighter your legs are the harder it will be.  As you bring yourself back up to the starting position you should be brushing your back with the bench.  Repeat this 15 times and try for three sets.

 Park bench press ups:

Park bench press ups

Park bench press ups

 

This is a great exercise for the upper body.  Start with your hands on the bench about shoulder width apart.  Keep on your toes, legs straight and feet together, keep your back straight and tummy in tight.  Bend your elbows and bring your chest towards the bench keeping your form at all times.  Straighten the arms to return to the starting position.  Repeat this exercise 15 times and try for three sets.

 Star Jumps:

Star jumps

Star jumps

 

This is another great exercise to get your heart racing and increase your fitness.  To do this all you do is start with your feet together then jump and land your feet more than hip width apart.  As your feet go out lift your arms up.  You are looking to make a star with your body.  To finish bring your feet back together and bring your arms down.  Repeat this for 60 seconds progressing to 2 minutes non stop.

 Squats:

squats

Stand with feet hip distance apart with your toes, knees and hips in a straight line.  Pull your belly button towards your spine and contract your tummy muscles.  Slowly lower your body, as though you are sitting in a chair.  Go as low as you feel comfortable.  Keeping the weight in your heels, slowly push your body back to starting position. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times, performing 1 to 3 sets. For each squat, count to 3 on the way up and on the way down to ensure you’re not going too fast.

Squat thrusts with park bench:

squat thrusts off bench

squat thrusts off bench

Start with your hands on the bench.  Legs straight, tummy in tight and back straight.  To do this exercise you will be lifting one knee at a time up to your chest as if you were jogging.  When one foot lands back on the floor repeat with the other leg.  It’s as if you are running on the spot but lifting your knees up high towards you.  Try to do this for 60 seconds building up to 2 minutes non stop.

Lunges:

lunges

lunges

Stand in a split stance with one leg forward and one leg back.  Slowly bend the knees, lowering into a lunge while keeping the front knee and back knee at
90 degree angles.  Keeping the weight in your heels, push back up to starting position. Avoid locking the knees at the top of the movement.  Keep your front knee behind the toe as you lunge (you should be able to look down and see your toe).  Keep your tummy engaged and the back straight.   Do this exercise 10 – 16 times each leg trying for 3 sets altogether.

Burpees:

burpees

burpees

Start in the standing position, with your feet shoulder width apart, arms relaxed.  Squat down, placing your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Quickly kick your feet back and at the same time lower yourself. You should be down in the position of a push up.  Shoot your knees back to your chest as you push yourself up with your arms into the squat position. Jump as high as you can from the squat position.  End in the standing position.  This movement is very similar to a squat thrust. The difference is that at the end of a burpee, you jump as hard as you can.   This subtle difference builds explosive power in your legs. You should also focus on doing them as quick as possible. If done correctly, burpees can increase your stamina, explosiveness, and strength.

You can also jazz your running up in the park by doing interval training.  Research shows that interval training burns fat more efficiently and what I like the most about it is, that although its harder you can be don in 10 – 30 minutes rather than spending 60 minutes at low intensity training.  It is also very easy to do in a park, here’s how:

Walk briskly or jog to one lamppost then accelerate you speed to the next lamppost and walk to the next on for recovery, repeat this 10 – 15 times.  To progress this make the higher intensity interval (i.e. the hard bit) longer with 2 lampposts then recover to one lamppost.  You can also do this on a hill running or brisk walk up a hill as far as you can go or to the top and use the downhill as a recovery repeat this 10-15 times.

If you decide to use these exercises in the park just remember one thing stay hydrated and have a rest if you need one and most importantly stretch afterwards.

So now you know some exercises to do outside so find yourself a park and have ago.  Enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine (if we get it) and if you have a dog take them along for fun.  Keep active folks……………..

 

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