A lot of people find it difficult to come up with the resources to make it to the gym. Whether they are lacking in money, time, transportation, or will-power, there are still ways to get a good workout in without ever leaving the comfort of your house.
I will list some exercises that are versatile enough to be done anywhere, but if the weather is good, I would encourage you to do them outside to reap the benefits of fresh air and sunlight. I will also include some exercises that can only be done outside, because exercising outdoors gives you a lot more options.
- Body Weight Squats: These can be done inside or out, and there are lots of variations.
How To Do It: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Make sure your toes are pointed slightly outward. Look straight ahead, and keeping your weight in your heels, start to send your hips back as you bend your knees. Make sure that your knees don’t go past your toes, and once you get to the bottom of your squat, press through your heels as you straighten your legs.
Why You Should Do It: Squats are a foundational movement that can be built on, and a great way to start strengthening your posterior chain. Squats are a compound movement, which means that you are using more muscle groups than you would in an isolated movement. If you have the basic squat down, you could add some cardio to your workout and advance to jump squats. To perform these, simply straighten the legs quicker, with more force on the way up. This will get you off the ground. When you land go straight back down into a squat.
- Body-Weight Lunge: There are lots of variations of lunges, and you don’t need much space to do them.
How To Do It: Start standing up with good posture. Step one leg in front of you and bend your front knee to about 90 degrees. Then bend your back knee, lowering yourself down. As with squats, be sure that your front knee doesn’t go past your toes. You can keep stepping forward for walking lunges, or you can step back after lunging down, alternating legs for standing lunges.
Why You Should Do It: Lunges are another foundational movement. They can also be considered compound movements, especially if you work your arms while doing them. Lunges also provide a great stretch for the hips. For more variation, you can do side lunges, courtesy lunges, or back lunges.
- Push-Ups: Once again, there are a lot of variations on this basic exercise, but they also don’t take up much space.
How To Do It: Start in a plank position (on hands and toes, with a flat back, keeping your hips in line with your body) then start to bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the ground. Straighten your arms to bring yourself back up. If this is too much for you, you can do knee push-ups. To perform, simply replace your toes with your bent knees, and keep everything else the same. If you want more of a challenge you can do 3,2,1 push-ups, wide-grip, close grip, Spiderman, clap, or many others.
Why You Should Do It: Push-ups are another one of those foundational movements. They are compound movements, working the shoulders, chest, abs, triceps, and serratus anterior (armpit) muscles.
- Running: Running can be done in many ways. You could train for a race, run laps around a park or track, run for distance, sprint, etc. This one is self-explanatory as far as how to perform the exercise, but for anyone who is just getting into running, or has been out of it for a while, just start small and gradually build up to greater distances, or faster speeds. You can’t expect yourself to start where you want to end up.
Why You Should Do It: Running is great for cardiovascular health, endurance, pulmonary health, and many other benefits. For me personally, running is also a great way to relieve stress and clear my mind.
- Stairs/Hills: This one can go along with the running, but you could also use this one walking as well.
Why You Should Do It: Adding an incline is a great way to train for life outside the gym because that’s how the earth is. It is not always flat like a track, so walking or running up inclines can help you navigate the earth more easily whether that be traveling or going for a walk with your family. A bonus is that you can explore and see things that you would have missed had you been traveling by car. Hills and stairs strengthen your calf muscles, as well as increase your cardiorespiratory and pulmonary health.
- Go to a Park: If you have a fitness park nearby, this is a great option to get some fresh air while performing some body-weight exercises. Here in Manhattan, Cico Park has a fitness park. There is a trail with exercise stations such as pull-up bars, parallel bars, and monkey bars, among others. There are also stations for stretching. You can also go to a regular park and do some of the same exercises. You can usually find monkey bars, find a place to do pull-ups, or use a park bench for triceps dips or decline push-ups. Get as creative as you like!
Why You Should Do It: It can be fun to add an element of your childhood to your workouts. Going to a park allows you to use your creativity, and as mentioned you can get a great workout in with just your body-weight. If you need inspiration, you can look up park workouts to see what other people have done, though there are countless ways to do it.
I hope you are inspired to give some of these exercises a try, whether from the comfort of your home, or in the heart of nature.