Turn Your Park Into a Gym
Spring is here and it appears it’s going to be sticking around. On those nice, sunny days I like to get out of the gym and workout in the outdoors. Milwaukee and the surrounding areas have some wonderful parks and some great jungle gyms. So, why not make the park part of your Spring gym?
Our parks are a great source of railings to hang from, benches to step on and walls to lean against. This makes for some effective pieces of equipment for performing sit ups, press ups and triceps exercises. Additionally, you can use trees as targets to spring to, horizontal lines in car parks as markers to compete against with an exercise partner – and different terrain such as sand and grass to jog on.
There are so many things you can do with you park to get in a great workout and feel like you’ve just played for 30-40 minutes. Some of my favorite work out ideas are:
- A cardiovascular warm-up: Pick 4 trees. Jog from one to the next and build up your speed at each tree. Or, if your park has a trail, take a jog around that and work on building speed.
- Upper arm dips: Find a low bench (around 12 inches high) and sit on the edge of it. Your legs should be straight and your heels firmly on the ground. Place your hands on the edge of the bench. Keeping your hands close to your body, inch yourself off the bench about 2 inches in front of the bench. Raise and lower your body using your arms.
- Incline push-ups: After finishing your arm dips, flip over and do push-ups using the bench. Your legs should be straight and you should be standing on the balls of your feet. Your palms should be flat on the edge of the bench. Keep your arms close to your chest and your head looking forward. Push up here for 3 sets of 10.
- Pull-ups on a railing or monkey bar: Grip the bar so your palms are facing you and pull up. Life and lower for 3 sets of 8-10, or until fatigue.
- Sit-ups on a slope: Find a slope and sit with your head at the base of the slope and your feet on the incline. Keep you head straight and your chin tilted slightly, as if you’re holding a ball under your chin. Raise and lower to about a 45 degree angle, working the stomach muscles.
- Cardio: Sprints similar to your warm up, only more intense and with more speed and power. PIck 6 or 7 trees, or spots to sprint from. Start at the beginning and job to the next, pick it up to a run, maybe shuffle to the best, and spring the rest. Or any combination of these will work. Spring back to the beginning when you are done and repeat twice.
- Cool-down: Walk briskly for 30 seconds, and then start slowing down to bring your heart rate down. The find bridge or a bench and stretch out your legs by placing one let on the wall and leaning forward. Switch to the next.
There is SO much you can do with your park. Being fit doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are so many benefits to being outdoors in the Spring and Summertime. The fresh air will help you sleep better, vitamin C helps to keep you healthy and it is just so nice to be able to be outdoors after a long, cold winter.
The exercises I’ve listed here are just a small sampling of how you can best utilize the outdoor gym.
Here’s to a healthier YOU!