We don’t need science to tell us that getting outdoors is good for us. We can feel it in our mind, body and soul. Sunrise, bird song, gentle breezes, swaying trees… Mother Nature effortlessly captures us and lulls us into a sense of wellbeing.
But if you want the science (and we know you do), it’s called ‘soft fascination’. Peaceful settings such as the park or the beach can improve brain health and have restorative effects on the body, studies have confirmed. Simply being present in these places can boost your focus and slash your stress levels.
Bring exercise into the mix and you’ll pump up these benefits, along with a higher metabolism, muscle-sculpting and fat-burning power. These do-anywhere functional exercises will target every inch of your body…
Warm the body and find your rhythm with this plyometric powermove. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity – you’ll engage the whole body with this one exercise.
- Stand with your legs together and arms by your sides.
- With a slight bend in your knees, jump into the air. Bring your legs shoulder-width apart and reach your arms outwards and over your head.
- Jump back to your starting position.
The butt-sculptor of bodyweight exercises: lateral lunges target the glute muscles and help you build a stronger, firmer behind. Here’s how to do them:
- Start standing, with your legs wide apart.
- Shift your weight to your left leg and sit into your hips, lowering your body as far as you can. Imagine sitting down on a stool.
- As you lower, keep your right leg straight and your right foot flat on the ground.
This is a great bodyweight exercise to do with a workout buddy. Make sure you perform every press-up properly – no half-presses to finish faster!
- Perform one press-up, then stand up and walk forwards about five meters.
- This time, get down and complete two press-ups.
- Walk backwards to your original spot and take it up to three press-ups.
- Keep going with this routine, gradually increasing until you get to 15 press-ups.
What could be a better outdoor functional exercise than unleashing your inner grizzly? This one’s probably best done on a softer surface, like grass or sand.
- Crouch down with your hands: knees lowered, hips in the air and eyes forward.
- Rise up onto your toes, tighten your core and crawl forwards starting with your right arm and right knee, followed by your left side.
- Depending on space, take eight to 10 steps forward.
- Turn around and bear crawl back to the starting position.
Wherever you are, there’s bound to be a wall somewhere outdoors. Sculpt your hips, thighs, calves, glutes and abs in this one simple-yet-effective move.
- Slowly slide your back down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Knees should be directly above your ankles and your back should be straight.
- Tighten the core and hold for one minute.
- Rest, then repeat for two minutes, gradually increasing the minutes with each repetition until your legs start to tremble. Fire!
Squats are the ultimate bodyweight exercise. Throw in a jump for some added cardio and you’ve got a sure-fire sculptor.
- Sit down into a normal squat (read our guide to building a better squat here).
- When you reach the lowest point of the squat, immediately jump up with your arms reaching overhead.
- Repeat for 12-15 reps.