3 Great Outdoor Workouts

Kimberly Daly Farrell
by Kimberly Daly Farrell
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3 Great Outdoor Workouts

With all this warm weather, it’s silly to stay inside just to exercise. Get out of the gym to get your sweat going! And while you’re out there, go beyond pedaling and pavement pounding with one of these muscle-building, calorie-torching workouts.

Take a hike! “If you really push it, you can burn up to 600 calories an hour hiking up a tough path,” says Stacy Berman, a New York City-based fitness trainer. “Most trails involve some uphill climbing,” says Berman, “which engages the same muscles as the stair machine at the gym—the big ones in your thighs, hips and butt.” Meanwhile, the uneven terrain activates stabilizer muscles along your legs to keep you from losing your balance. Warm up with these three moves at the trailhead to get your lower half ready for all that toning action.

  • Leg swings Hold onto to the back of a bench or tree trunk to help you stay upright during this hip-loosening move. Standing on your left foot, swing your right leg from side to side across your body. Then swing it back and forth. Do ten reps in each direction, and then switch legs.
  • Side lunges Fire up your quads and activate the stabilizing muscles on the outside of your hips with this simple move. Stand with your feet together. Keeping your left leg straight, step your right foot to the side and bend your right knee into a squat position. Push through with your right foot, bringing your left foot to meet the right at the same time. Do ten reps on each leg.
  • Step ups Mimic the climbing motion you’ll be doing by taking exaggerated steps up onto a bench. Face the seat and step onto it with your right foot. Push off the ground with your left foot and bring it up to meet your right. Step back down with your left foot, and bring your right back to the ground to meet your left. Do ten reps on each leg.

Dust off your rollerblades! Inline skating is making a come back in parks across America. For good reason: Inline skating (a.k.a. rollerblading) is a full body workout that burns fat and strengthens your core. “Inline skating can be an intense total body workout, involving both cardio and strength training,” says fitness trainer Amanda Russell. “The diagonal motion makes your abdominals work harder than ever—you can literally feel the obliques in every move.” Here is Russell’s favorite belly-blaster blade workout:

  • Warm up Skate at a moderate speed for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Hill Repeats Find a gradual hill, the longer the better. The hill should take you anywhere from 40 seconds to 3 minutes to get up. Skate up the hill as hard as you can, then recover by skating back down; repeat 4 to 6 times. (For longer hills, do fewer repeats and for shorter hills do more— you be the judge.)
  • Wind Sprints Find a straight stretch of road or pavement, and skate as fast as you can for about 20 seconds. Recover for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 6 times. (Really use your core here, think, “Strong core, dig deep!” says Russell.)
  • Cool Down Skate at an easy pace for 5 to 8 minutes.

Bootcamp, baby! No need to sign up for a class—with a little self-motivation you can get a great workout in your own backyard! “One of the most forgotten kinds of exercise that you can use to spice up your fitness is getting up and down off the ground,” says Coach Stevo, Oakland, CA-based fitness trainer and MyFitnessPal’s resident good-habit guru. “I run my clients through simple ‘Up-Downs,’ which are exactly what they sound like. You go down to the ground, then you get back up.” When done right, up-downs can activate every muscle in your body, making them a surprisingly challenging part of any fitness routine. Try the move a few times to get the hang of it before you think it seems too easy. Then, when you’re ready, tackle the full workout—“I challenge you to complete the whole thing without smiling!” says Coach Stevo.

  • Series 1 Lie on your stomach, and then get back up. Next, lie down on your back, and then get back up. Then, lie on your left side, and get back up. Finally, lie on your right side, and get back up. Try to avoid jumping up, especially as you fatigue—“It’s is a recipe for an ankle injury,” says Coach Stevo.
  • Series 2 Put your left hand on your left knee. Without removing it, do the set of movements in Series 1 again.
  • Series 3 Put your right hand on your right knee. Without removing it, do the set of movements in Series 1 again.
  • Series 4 Put your left hand on your right knee. Without removing it, do the set of movements in Series 1 again.
  • Series 5 Put your right hand on your left knee. Without removing it, do the set of movements in Series 1 again.

 OK, who’s ready to sweat? Which of these awesome outdoor workouts will you be trying soon?

About the Author

Kimberly Daly Farrell
Kimberly Daly Farrell

Kimberly Daly Farrell is a contributor at MyFitnessPal. A certified health coach and self-proclaimed running addict, Kimberly studied integrative nutrition and has completed three marathons. She has previously held editorial positions at Shape, Glamour, Fitness, and Good Housekeeping magazines. You can follow Kimberly’s running adventures on her personal blog, Some Kind Of Runderful.


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