Summer is ideal for exercising outdoors. Even if you are stuck in a big city.

In winter I always look forward to longer and warmer days because I much prefer exercising outdoors, even in a small park, than behind closed doors. Of course you are much better off if you live in the countryside, with lots of greenery around, and you can have your workout while looking at a picturesque lake. But trust me, you also have plenty of options in a big city.

Because strength is in the numbers

For starters, in the city you can choose from a number of group workouts. You can join a running group, test yourself in a boot camp, pop in a park for a yoga or pilates class. Possibilities are endless! All you need to do is look for some options, test them and choose the one that suits you best. What’s even better is to create a weekly plan with different workouts, for example:

Monday — training with a running group,
Wednesday — training with a running group,
Thursday — yoga class,
Saturday — light jogging,
Sunday — functional workout or relaxing ;)

This way you will have time to recover, you will give your body versatile stimuli and activate all muscle groups! This will also help you meet lots of active people and it’s always easier to train in a group. And one more thing! Once you have a plan, your routine, it’s much easier to train regularly. You just know that on Thursday at 6 pm you have a yoga class and you will be home at 8 pm!

The city space is a great gym!

Do you really think that for a good workout you need dumbbells, equipment and all the gadgets you have in the gym? Nonsense! You can get yourself a proper drill using what’s around you: benches, steps, walls, lamp posts, lawns. Of course you can help yourself with something small like an elastic band, which you can always keep in your pocket or wrap around your arm, but the outdoors itself is sufficient. How to get a quick city workout done? Here’s your sample tabata training:

First, a few ground rules:

Work out hard for 30 seconds and rest for 15 seconds (if you don’t have a timer, you can count the repetitions, repeat 15 to 20 times). Complete 5 rounds of 8 exercises each. Rest for 1 minute after each round.

  • Classic squats, every 5 repetitions one jump squat
    Knee push-up on the grass or against the wall (you control the intensity depending on the angle you take)
    Russian twists on the grass for strong abs and core stability
    Dips on a bench for strong triceps
    Farmers walk
    Dips on a bench for strong triceps
    Plank
    Reverse plank hip lifts

That’s just an example. You can come up with a completely different workout, for example: 3 exercises in each round, repeat the round 3 times, rest and then a round of 3 different exercises. Complete 5 rounds of 3 exercises each, repeating each round 3 times. You can also think of something else: go for a short run around the park between the rounds, so for example: 5 exercises for different body parts, a run, repeat 4 times. There are lots of options! You can ask a personal trainer for a routine, get inspired by your fitness class or check out a good book. Where there's a will there's a way.

Things to remember

For your safety you should remember about the following when you train outdoors:

Take a bottle of water with you. You can hide it in the bushes when you’re on the move, but you have to hydrate regularly.

Wear sunscreen. Remember about this even when you train early in the morning or after work. You might not realise or feel it but the sun is doing its thing!

Cover your head — a light cap or a sports headband. Think about comfortable sunglasses these will rather come handy when you cycle or jog but it’s better to take them off during an intense workout.

Take your mobile with you just in case something bad happens. (Knock on wood!)

Don’t worry what the people you pass will think. Let them watch or point fingers at you. It’s not you who should be ashamed — it’s them. You are exercising, they are being lazy and instead of staring they should join you! :)

Good luck!