Your Local Park: A Fitness Diamond In The Rough
Many clients and wellness enthusiasts go to the gym to boost their confidence. For some, the gym not only offers physical benefits and mental challenges, but fosters a sense of fulfillment and well being. No doubt about it, for me, after training clients for so many years the fitness center has become an oasis, my home away from home. Often I literally eat, sleep, and shower at the gym. However, there are certain elements about working out in the park that you just can't get in a traditional gym setting.
Recreation in the park has always had a therapeutic effect on me. It’s a great place for solitude, great place to problem solve, or “woosaah.” The park can offer more than just serenity and beautiful landscaping.
At the park wellness is ALL AROUND you. Some parks offer challenges like running stairs or jogging on paved or gravel trails with natural inclines and rough terrain. In addition to the terrain, at times I take cones and my weight jacket for cardio, agilities, and footwork. During my jog I can detour and rep out a couple sets of dips on the picnic tables or my favorite, playground equipment. Early in the morning children are very scarce, so I have the playground all to myself. Hey, you don’t have to be a kid to take advantage of playground equipment!
The next time you are at the park for some down time, collecting your thoughts, or if you have that sudden urge to workout, here are a couple of fun exercises that can turn your local park into a diamond in the rough. These exercises can be done in sets of 3, 10-15 reps per set (10-15x3).
Inverted Row or Horizontal Pull-Ups
Great For: Back, Lats, Traps and Biceps.
Find a bar low enough. Using a regular, wide, close, or reverse grip, place your hands on the bar, walk your feet out in front of your until your weight is resting on your hands and your back is horizontal to the ground, using your feet for leverage, pull the chest plate to the bar.
Great For: Shoulders, Biceps, Chest, Back, and Abs
Starting from a raised pushup position, place toes on the seat of the swing and rep as many as you can or break up reps in sets, maybe two sets of 10 (10x2) or do as many as you can under a certain time (intervals)
Great For: Legs and Glutes
Use a stair or a bench. Step up and step down. You can add a hamstring kick or bring your knees to your chest for an aerobic benefit. Alternate Legs or do a set with the right leg, then the left.
Lying Straight Leg Raises
Great For: Abs and Hips
Laying on the ground, keep the lower back on the floor or ground. Place your hand under your glutes or just outside the hips for support. Lift legs upward until the legs are straight above the hips. Slowly lower legs under control contracting the abs without allowing the feet to touch the ground, that’s one rep. Rep (do) as many as you can or break up reps in sets, maybe two sets of 10 (10x2), or do as many as you can under a certain time (intervals)
Body Weight Squats or Quarter Squats
Great For: Abs, Glutes, and Legs
Downward phase: Standing with feet shoulder width apart. Squat, bending at the knee and hips, lower your glutes until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Upward Phase: Return to the start position. Do as many as you can under a certain time or 3 sets of 10-15 (15x3). Great for Abs, Glutes, and Legs.
Exercise is what you make of it. Regardless of your fitness level, the park is the perfect place for you to fit in, whether solo or accompanied by friends. You don’t need fitness equipment, just your creativity.Life begins when you start doing things outside of your comfort zone!