Did you know, your home workouts don’t have to be done inside your home?
They can be done anywhere.
A local park.
Anywhere there is enough space really.
Outdoor training brings another dimension to your workouts.
Being outside in the fresh air, and sunshine (hopefully) rather than sweating away inside.
Fancy giving it a try?
I think we can all get on board with the fact that exercising, in general, is good for you.
It boosts your mood. Helps you sleep better. Releases endorphins so you deal with stress better. Gives you more energy.
But when you add in a bit of nature to that training, the benefits are magnified.
Fresh air. A Good dose of vitamin D.
It improves your mental health immensely.
Whilst all of that is good, the most important thing, for me...training outside is so much fun.
You can use equipment that you probably don’t have room for indoors. Because let’s face it, there is plenty of room outside.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the equipment I’m going to talk to you about can absolutely be used inside if you have the room. But most of us don’t.
So, taking it outside opens up way more opportunities.
But wait, what if you don’t have a garden big enough?
Ok, so what if you’ve got a small garden, or perhaps no outdoor area at all?.
Well, let’s take your workout into your local area. Yes, you might feel a bit embarrassed to begin with, but trust me, you will soon get over that. And who knows, you might inspire someone to do it as well.
You might even get people joining in with you.
So, what have you got in your local area?
Is there a park? Does it have a green space? If it does, do your workout there.
Does it have a children’s park? Yes, I mean swings and slides and roundabouts. Again, that’s a great place to workout. And you can take your kids.
Is there any outdoor gym equipment in the park?
Quite a few parks these days have some sort outdoor exercise equipment. Weight machines, cardio machines. And they’re free to use. So if you do have something like that, go and use them.
A walking trail. Tennis courts. Obstacle course.
They can all be used for a workout if you’re space challenged in the garden department.
Before we get into the equipment you can use for your backyard gym, let’s talk about what you will need if you’re training away from home. Because that will need to be more portable.
It will need to be something you can fit into your car, the bottom of the pram, or in a rucksack.
Firstly, remember walking can be a great warm up. So if the park, outdoor space you’re heading for is within walking distance, walk. Put your equipment in a rucksack and you’ll be ready to go when you get there.
A couple of dumbbells for strength training. A jump rope for some cardio. And resistance bands for mobility.
Or, what about concentrating on bodyweight exercises?
If you’ve got a bit more room to work with, you can add in a few sprints, or walking lunges, or a bear crawl to mix it up a bit.
If you’ve got a friend to workout with, take it in turns to do resistance band sprints.
One of you puts the resistance band over your waist and tries to sprint as the other holds on to the other end and holding you back. Very tough, and fun.
Ok, let’s get on with what you can use in your own back garden.
What type of equipment could you use in your garden?
If you can use it inside, you can use it outside. That is, if you can get it out there.
Obviously if you’ve got a heavy treadmill, I’d leave it where it is.
As I’ve already covered quite a few pieces of equipment, I’m not going to rehash them here.
I’ll focus on the stuff that you’d probably need a bit more room to use, and that could be left outside.
These are the top of my list and for good reason.
They give an awesome full body workout.
You can use one rope looped around a fixed point, or for more of a challenge, you can use two ropes tied to a fixed point.
Whatever you decide, you use them in the same way…
slam, swing, shake them into the ground.
If it sounds easy, don’t be fooled, they are a tough bit of kit to use. And you can incorporate other exercises to get your heart rate ramped up and your body burning fat.
If you’re good at tying knots, you can also tie the battle ropes around something heavy and pull it. Arm over arm pull, whatever it is, towards you.
That is a great way to workout.
I’m not talking about your car tyre here. I’m talking lorry tyre, tractor tyre. Any construction vehicle. They have to be big.
And what do you do with it?
Get low, in a deep squat position, hand underneath the tyre. Make sure you lift with your legs and not your back and you flip it over.
The bigger and heavier the tyre, the more steps that will need.
You might need to get it to hip height, get your knee underneath it and adjust your hands. Then get it to shoulder height, get your shoulder underneath it and use your bodyweight for the final push over.
Or, get it standing on it’s edge and then roll it.
Lot’s of steps. Lot’s of body parts being used.
Sandbags, the exercise ones, not the flood prevention ones, are fairly inexpensive.
They come in a variety of weights, although you have to fill them up with sand yourself. When they are full they weigh what is stated.
If you want it lighter, just put less sand in it.
They’re great for outdoor workouts. Yes, as with all of these they can be used inside as well, but they are great to take outside.
You can drop them and throw them about without much care.
What can they be used for?
Well, they are another form of weight. So anything you can use barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells for, you can switch in a sandbag.
They have handles on them.
A few in different places which means you can use them for different exercises.
Use the handles on the ends to clean them into a rack position and press them overhead. Or squat with them. Carry them with the handle on the top for some farmers walks. Or, manhandle them onto your shoulder and flip them off.
They very much concentrate on compound movements, so are brilliant for functional training. Meaning you use your whole body as one unit, instead of training separate muscle groups.
These are usually known as a TRX, but that is a particular brand of suspension trainer.
There are others.
Hooked over a tree branch rather than a door anchor, these are a great piece of equipment to use outside.
They are portable, so you could take them to the park.
Whilst you can do whole body and lower body exercises with a suspension they are better for training your upper body.
Now, I’m not suggesting you head back inside because there’s a bit of rain. In fact quite the opposite.
I have a great time working out in the rain.
But I get not everyone is like me, and if you don’t like getting soaking wet, you’ll have to find something to help with the days that the weather is less than optimal.
If you can create a covered space in your garden, that would be awesome.
Hearing the rain. Working out to the splashes and the drips. But not getting wet. Lovely.
But, if a covered patio isn’t an option, then you’ve got to get yourself some decent clothing.
They say, there’s no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothes.
Waterproof socks and/or trainers. Waterproof jacket and trousers. They are essential for being outside in all weathers.
North Face has got to be one of the highest quality outdoor clothing providers.
They are expensive, but if you’re going to train outdoors regularly, then you will need some good quality clothes.
So, treat yourself. You’re worth it.
I have to say, I’ve loved writing this article.
I’ve literally gone down my list of favorite workouts. My dream home gym and I’ve fantasised about what I would have in it.
I hope I’ve inspired you to head out into nature. To create your own outdoor workout space.
If you fall in love with any other piece of equipment, do let me know. I’d love to add to this list.
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