Get Fit Outdoors — in 30 Minutes
To get fast results, take your workout outside. A study from California Pacific Orthopedic and Sports Medicine found that outdoor exercisers lost an average of 7.43 pounds and 6.17 percent of body fat in eight weeks. That's because outdoors, your body is constantly challenged by inclines, declines, and obstacles, explains Tina Vindum, founder of Outdoor Action Fitness, an outdoor-fitness instruction program in Marin County, California. You'll also improve your mood and boost self-esteem, according to recent research from the University of Essex in England.
Rev up your usual routine by doing this 30-minute workout, developed by Vindum. Try it in your backyard or at a local park — you'll burn at least 260 calories while firming up all over. Before you get started, make sure to warm up with at least five minutes of power walking or light jogging.
1. Side Leap
Fitness Focus: Inner Thighs, Quads, Calves, Glutes
- Stand on a flat surface with your feet together.
- Bend your knees and hop as far as you can to your right, landing on the ball of your right foot.
- Without returning left foot to the ground, bend your right knee and hop as far as you can to the left.
- Work up to 20 hops on each side.
2. Park-Bench Dip
Fitness Focus: Triceps, Shoulders, Core
- Sit on a bench and place your hands on either side of your hips.
- Slide your butt forward, supporting yourself with your hands.
- Bend elbows, bringing upper arms almost parallel to ground, then return to starting position.
- Keep lower back close to the bench throughout the exercise.
- Complete 12 to 15 reps.
3. Park-Bench Push-Up
Fitness Focus: Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Core
- Stand facing a park bench and place your hands on the seat; walk your feet out behind you until your legs are fully extended.
- Bend your arms and lower chest toward bench, then push up.
- Complete 12 reps.
- Turn around and place your hands on the ground and your feet on the bench (not shown); walk your hands forward until they're aligned under shoulders, legs extended.
- Lower chest toward ground, then push up. Complete 8 reps.
- Work up to 20 reps of each.
4. Tightrope Walk
Fitness Focus: Calves, Quads, Core
- Find a curb or fallen tree with a smooth surface that is at least 6 feet long.
- Raise arms out to sides and walk across the "tightrope" until you reach the end (or go at least 6 feet).
- Turn on the balls of your feet; walk in the opposite direction.
- Continue for 3 minutes.
5. Side Shuffle
Fitness Focus: Glutes, Inner and Outer Thighs, Quads
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart, elbows bent, with fists near ribs.
- Take three giant steps to your right, sliding your left foot to meet the right.
- Bend your knees and jump up, turning to face the opposite direction.
- Repeat, shuffling to your left.
- Continue alternating sides for 1 minute.
6. Side Step
Fitness Focus: Core, Obliques, Glutes, Upper Back, Shoulders
- Stand with right side facing a step, log, or flat rock.
- Hold your arms out to your sides at shoulder height and bend elbows 90 degrees, palms facing forward.
- Step up with your right foot, contracting abs while bringing left knee and right elbow together in front of you. (Emphasize bringing your knee up rather than your elbow down.)
- Return to starting position; do 12 reps.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Fitness Focus: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes
- Using a step, fallen log, or flat rock, step up with your left foot and lift your right leg directly behind you.
- Step down and repeat on opposite side.
- Next, step up on left foot, raising right leg diagonally behind you; switch sides and repeat.
- Step up on left foot, kicking right foot out to side; switch legs and repeat.
- Continue until you've completed the kick cycle (back, diagonal, side) 26 times.
8. Hanging Crunch
Fitness Focus: Abs
- Take hold of a sturdy, low tree branch, monkey bars, or other elevated handhold, palms facing forward.
- Keeping arms fully extended, exhale as you bend your knees and bring them slowly toward your abs.
- Inhale as you slowly release.
- Do as many reps as you can, working up to 12.
9. Slalom Jump
Fitness Focus: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads
- Place four to six small rocks in a zigzag pattern, about 1 1/2 feet between each rock.
- Keeping your feet together, hop to the outside of each rock.
- Turn around when you reach the end.
- Repeat for 1 minute.