THE BLOG

Fun Outdoor Exercises

06/16/2017 03:59 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 04:00 EDT

This summer, capitalize on the beautiful weather by taking your workouts outside! Who needs to waste valuable time getting to and from the gym -- or lose fitness ground by slacking on vacation -- when you can easily turn your backyard, your local park, or the dock at your cottage into a "gym"?

Working out at the cottage is not a crime against vacationing. You will feel better -- and enjoy your mimosa more -- if you have prioritized movement.

1. Use stairs or a hill in your neighbourhood

Warm up by walking or jogging to the stairs or hill. Then, try one of these pyramid workouts.

Pyramid A

Run up and down the stairs once. Do 5 squats.

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 5 squats.

Run up and down the stairs 3 times. Do 5 squats.

Run up and down the stairs 4 times Do 5 squats.

Run up and down the stairs 5 times. Do 5 squats.

If time permits speed walk, jog, or run for 5 to 15 minutes before walking or jogging home to cool down.

To increase the intensity, do the stairs twice on the first round. Then, add one full set of stairs each round. Finish with 6 sets of stairs instead of 5. In between each set of stairs, do 10 squats (instead of 5) as well as 10 lunges.

Pyramid B

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 5 squats.

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 10 squats.

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 15 squats.

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 20 squats

Run up and down the stairs twice. Do 25 squats.

If time permits speed walk, jog, or run for 5 to 15 minutes before walking or jogging home to cool down.

To increase the intensity, run up the stairs 3 times each round (instead of twice). Also, add lunges into the mix. After your first set of stairs do 5 squats and 5 lunges. Pyramid up so you do 10 squats and lunges, then 15 of both, and so forth.

2. Do timed strength sets in the park

Warm up by walking or jogging to the park. If you're training in your backyard or at the cottage, warm up with 5 minutes of gentle cardio -- march on the spot, then run or walk with high knees, and finish with some bum kicks. 2017-06-14-1497463625-4150872-bumkicks.jpg

Try the "4/3/2 workout."

Pick 2 to 4 pairs of 2 exercises. Complete each pair for the designated reps back to back for 4 minutes. Repeat for 3 minutes. Then for 2 minutes. For example, if your first pair is "10 push-ups and 10 squats" and your second pair is "10 lunges and 10 scapular push-ups," do 4 minutes of back-to-back squats and push-ups (alternating 10 each), then 4 minutes of back-to-back lunges and scapular push-ups. Repeat for 3 minutes. Then do both sets for 2 minutes.

Not sure what a scapular push-up is? Start in a high plank position. 2017-06-14-1497463917-9073800-plank.jpg Keep your arms straight and use the muscles between your shoulder blades to pull your shoulder blades together. Push your shoulder blades apart and repeat.

3. Work out with your dog

A. On short dog walks do fartlek intervals. Warm up for 5 minutes. Then pick a random landmark - such as a stop sign - and speed walk, run, or sprint toward it. Walk or jog to recover. Repeat until it is time to go home. Make sure to budget for a 5-minute cool down.

B. Make the dog park an adventure. Do fartlek intervals until you get to an off-leash dog park. Once there, throw a ball for your dog. As he or she goes to fetch it, do body-weight exercises such as squats, lunges, burpees, or jumping jacks. Or try this "squat/lunge" combo.

Squat/lunge: Start standing, feet hip-distance apart. Bend at your ankles, knees and hips to sit backward, as if you are sitting in a chair. Engage your bum to stand up. Next, step your right leg backward into a lunge. Keep both feet facing forward. Bend both knees so your body moves toward the floor, then engage the bum muscle of your front leg to stand up. Switch and repeat on the opposite leg. Repeat the sequence 10 to 15 times.

For variety, bring a resistance band to the park. The band is easy to transport; just tie it around your waist like a belt. At the park wrap it around a tree to do a set of rows, or stand on it to do bicep curls.

4. Turn the lake and dock into your personal gym

A. In the water

Begin with a warm-up of 2 to 5 minutes treading water. Then, alternate 50 flutter kicks holding on to the dock with 1 to 2 minutes of vigorous treading water. Repeat 2 to 5 times. If you have a flotation device, wear it to do 10 jumping jacks, 10 high knees, and then 10 cross-country skiing motions (mimicking the motion of cross-country skiing). Then, pyramid the repetitions. Do all the moves for 20 repetitions, then 30, then 40, and finish with 50. Finally, for 5 to 20 minutes do lengths to and from an object that is a safe distance from your cottage's dock (and only if it's safe to do in your particular lake).

B. On the dock 2017-06-14-1497463811-2430172-Vhold.jpg

Do exercises such as V-hold and twist, front plank, side plank, squats, and lunges and consider jumping rope. Try a circuit where you do 2 to 5 minutes of skipping followed by 10 lunges, 10 squats, 30 seconds of side plank on each arm, 10 push-ups, and 10 bird dogs. Repeat 2 to 3 times.