Sweat Often

15-Minute Full-Body Outdoor Workouts for Beginners

3

As the weather begins to perk up, it might be time to move your workout sessions outside. If you’ve never taken your workouts into the great outdoors, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how outdoor workouts can help break up the monotony of your cold weather fitness plan, especially if you’re a workout newbie. Read on to find out about all the benefits and joys of outdoor workouts for beginners.

Spending time in nature brings about many benefits, such as diminishing stress and anxiety, improving gut health and generally boosting mood and well-being. Combine these health gains with the extensive perks of exercise—which include improved longevity and cognition and a decreased risk for disease—and you may never want to step foot inside a gym again.

If you’re sold on the benefits, but not quite sure where to start with your outdoor workout, keep reading. There are very simple, yet fun, exercises that you can do outside without any equipment and at any fitness level.

Grab a towel, some sunscreen and a pair of headphones and head to your backyard, beach or local park for a beginner’s workout that will work all of your major muscle groups and leave you feeling strong and happy.

RELATED: 5 Important Reasons to Exercise That Have Nothing to Do With Weight Loss

15-Minute Full-Body Outdoor Workouts For Beginners

This is a short, full-body workout that integrates both cardiovascular and strength training without equipment, which means you can do it almost anywhere. You can perform these exercises on their own or in a series.

As always, it is important to check with your physician before starting any exercise program. If you feel sharp pain or lightheadedness while exercising, stop and check in with your MD or DO. If anything feels too difficult, you can simplify the workout by cutting back on reps (number of times you perform each exercise) or making modifications as outlined below. Lastly, before you get started, make sure to hydrate, especially during the warmer months, and fuel your body with wholesome foods both before and after your workout.

RELATED: Morning vs. Evening Workouts

This workout includes approximately 5 minutes for warmup and approximately 10 minutes to cycle through the exercises for a 15-minute workout. You can repeat the sequence up to 4 times.

Why Warm Up?

Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles, which helps prepare your body for exercise and prevents injuries. You should warm up for 5-10 minutes. This can include movements such as jogging or marching in place, walking lunges, standing windmills and yoga.

Consider starting your warmup with five fast-paced sun salutations, which increase blood flow to the whole body, connect you to your breath and give you the opportunity to express gratitude for your natural surroundings—what a blessing to be outside moving your body!

The Best Outdoor Ab Exercises

Often overlooked because it’s viewed as either challenging or boring, core work is the foundation of all movement, including motions that you do on a daily basis such as walking, lifting and sitting. Taking time to focus on strengthening your inner and outer core can help you feel stronger in your day-to-day life, become less susceptible to injury and improve your posture.

Let’s get moving!

Dead Bug

Perhaps appropriately named for an exercise you perform while lying in the grass, dead bug works a variety of abdominal muscles. This includes the lesser-worked inner core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles help stabilize your spine and are key for pain and injury prevention.

How to perform dead bug:

1. Start lying on the ground with your legs in the air, knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your shins parallel to the ground.

2. Extend your arms up towards the sky. Keeping your lower back pressed gently into the ground, extend your right leg forward so that it is hovering over the ground. At the same time, extend your left arm straight behind you so that it is hovering above the ground as well.

3. Come back to center and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg and arm.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform 10 dead bugs, five on each side.

Plank

The plank is an exceptional exercise. Not only does it work your inner and outer core muscles through isometric contraction (contracting your muscles without moving), it also works muscles in your arms, back and legs. Plus, you only need to perform a plank for under a minute, and you can do it anywhere, including during your outdoor workout.

How to perform a plank:

1. Lower yourself down to the ground in a prone position. Make sure your feet are together and your elbows are under your shoulders.

2. Engage the glutes, and rise onto your toes.

3. Lift your hips up. You want your body to be parallel to the ground. Make sure your tush is not too high (you won’t be activating the core properly), nor too low (this puts too much strain on your lower back).

4. As you hold the position, feel that you are wrapping your transverse abdominis (inner core muscles) in a corset around your core. Think about actively driving your elbows toward your toes and keeping your body in a straight line.

Beginner tip: If you are recently postpartum or have a back injury or pain, it might not be the right time for a plank. Rather, stick to inner core exercises until your strength returns.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Start by holding your plank for 30 seconds and work your way up to 60 seconds.

RELATED: How to Do a Perfect Plank

Outdoor Leg Exercises Without Equipment

Squats

Squats are the queen of do-it-anywhere leg exercises. They are one of the best, and simplest, workouts for your glutes and quadriceps. Working the glutes to strengthen them is important for many people who do not work out often since weakness in this area can cause lower back pain.

How to perform squats:

1. Stand with your feet set apart, a bit wider than shoulder width. Point your feet straight forward, or slightly turned out.

2. Engage your glutes (squeeze!) and drive your heels into the ground. Be sure to track your knees over your feet, preventing them from going too far in or out.

3. Keep your chest tall and core engaged while clasping your hands and reaching forward to help you sit back into your hips.

4. Slowly lower down, bending your knees as if you are sitting down in a chair behind you, keeping your weight in the center of your foot.

Beginner tip: Bend as low as you can safely. If your knees hurt, ease up and go slow or stop entirely (depending on the severity of the pain). Keep moving, albeit slowly, never straightening your legs all the way.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform 20 squats slowly.

RELATED: How to do a Perfect Squat

Step-Ups

Find a park bench or tree stump to do step-ups. Step-ups add resistance to your gluteal and quadriceps exercise without needing to use weights or dumbells. Resistance amplifies the strength-building effects of most exercises.

How to perform step-ups:

1. Stand facing a low bench or tree stump with your hands on your hips.

2. Step up placing your entire right foot onto the step.,

3. Press through your right heel, bringing your left foot up to meet your right one so you are standing on the step .

4. Slowly lower down to starting position by stepping down with the right foot and then the left, so both feet are back on the ground.

5. Perform the same movement leading with the left foot.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform 10 step-ups, five on each side.

Short, High-Intensity Outdoor Cardio Workouts

It is especially important to check with your doctor before starting intense cardiovascular training.

Engaging in high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to boost your cardiovascular and overall health. While getting in longer sessions is good, research shows that shorter bouts of intense exercise are also effective at increasing fitness and decreasing risk for disease and cardiovascular disease.

Sprints

Sprints are the ultimate HIIT workout and you can do them anywhere. Research has shown that sprints can even help with next day fat metabolism. You might feel a little silly performing sprints in a public park, but chances are nobody will look twice and if they do, you’re probably inspiring them to start their own outdoor workout program.

How to perform sprints:

Run in a straight line for 20 seconds as fast as you can and then rest for 20 seconds.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform three sprints.

Hill Runs / Walks

Hills are one of the best workouts for both cardio and strengthening your glutes and quadriceps. This challenging exercise is a great way to add intensity to your workout. Intensity training builds cardiovascular strength without needing to cover distance or spend a lot of time.

How to perform hill runs:

Find a steep hill and either run or walk for 30 seconds. Use caution with this exercise, if you feel unwell, slow down or stop.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Run or walk up a steep hill for 30 seconds, three times.

Outdoor Arm Workouts without Equipment

Push-Ups

Push-ups are a great way to work several major muscles in your arms in one quick exercise. Push-ups strengthen chest, shoulder and back muscles. There are many progressions for push-ups, which makes them an ideal exercise for beginners. You can start by performing push-ups from your knees, then move onto your toes and eventually you can even move to three-limbed push-ups or incline push-ups.

How to perform push-ups:

1. Start lying on your stomach with your hands just outside your shoulders and your fingers spread apart.

2. Set your shoulders by thinking about screwing your hands into the ground.
3. Activate your glutes as you straighten one leg at a time.
4. Engage your core and keep it tight.
5. Create a straight line from your head to upper back to glutes.
6. Pull your body toward the ground slowly (inhale).
7. Push your body away from the ground (exhale).

Beginner tip: If your wrists hurt when you perform a push-up, you can try performing this exercise with your hands in a fisted position.

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform as many push-ups as you can, up to 10.

RELATED: How to Do a Perfect Push-Up

Tricep and Bicep Push-Ups

While the average push-up works the back of your arms and your chest, you can make slight adjustments to target other muscle groups, like with these push-ups that target the tricep and bicep muscles..

How to perform tricep push ups:

1. Start lying on your stomach with your hands just outside your shoulders and your fingers spread apart.

2. Set your shoulders by thinking about screwing your hands into the ground.
3. Activate your glutes as you straighten one leg at a time.
4. Engage your core and keep it tight.
5. Press up into a plank position. Create a straight line from your head to upper back to glutes.
6. As you pull your body toward the ground slowly, keep your elbows pressed to the side of your ribs (inhale).
7. Push your body away from the ground to starting position (exhale).

How to perform bicep push-ups:

1. Start lying on your stomach with your hands just outside your shoulders. Turn each hand so that your fingertips are facing you.

2. Press up into a plank position repeating steps 2-5 above (this might feel a little awkward, but should not be painful).

3. Keeping your spine straight, pull your body as far as you can towards the ground slowly (inhale).

4. Push your body away from the ground rising back to the starting position (exhale).

For the outdoor workout for beginners: Perform as many push-ups as you can in each hand position, up to 10 of each exercise.

Enjoy Your Outdoor Workout for Beginners

Ready to start revving those feel-good endorphins while strengthening your body and promoting longevity? One of the best ways to make a fitness plan an intuitive part of an overall healthy lifestyle is to enjoy yourself.

Move your workouts outside, perform exercises that you enjoy or feel inspired to progress, and invite your friends to join in the fun to enhance the benefits of your workouts. This short and simple outdoor exercise plan for beginners requires no equipment … so put away your excuses and get moving!

(Image: Shutterstock)

  • Interested in joining our wellness community and becoming a Nutritious Life Master Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach? Enter your info, get free access now to a sample class, and one of our coaches will get in touch with you!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

3