Outdoor workouts: Hitting the trails

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For most, school is over and the warmer weather has arrived. This is an exciting opportunity to get out and enjoy the sun. By taking our fitness training outdoors we can add new challenges, get closer to nature, and enjoy the most out of summer.

Chances are, there’s a trail for jogging, biking, and walking relatively close to you. Trails are great for challenging workouts. Here is an example of how to turn an average jog or walk into a full-body exercise routine.

Warm up

Begin with a fast walk or slow jog for 2–3 minutes.

Dynamic stretches

  1. Rotate your torso by twisting side to side, moving the feet as you twist.
  2. March forward with knees rising up to your hips, then march with heels curling to the back of the legs.
  3. Add a deep lunge with a twist by lunging forward, drop the opposite arm down by the front foot and twist towards the leg as you reach the other arm up. Switch legs and reach with the other arm. Do this for a few reps.
  4. With a wide leg stance and making sure your knee is in line with the ankle, lunge side to side and add arm movements by reaching the arm in front and up overhead. Side lunges open up the hips, shoulders, and side body.

Workout

Jog or fast walk for 3–5 minutes and then add in these moves along the way.

Walking lunges with twist:

With arms in front, walk forward into a lunge. To add some core work, twist your torso towards the same side as the front lunging leg. Remember to turn the chest to the side rather just the arms. Continue with walking lunges for one minute. Return to your jog.

High knee jogs and hamstring curls:

Take 30 seconds to perform a high-knee jog, bringing you knees up to your hips as many times as you can. It’s not a race so the longer it takes for you to move forward the better. Follow this by kicking the heels to the back of the legs as you jog forward for 30 seconds. Repeat the moves two more times then take a rest by walking or go right back into your jog.

Hill sprints:

Find a hill steep enough to add difficulty to your run/walk. Sprint up the hill and slowly jog down. You can repeat this going back and forth from sprinting and jogging. The sprints help build explosive strength and adds intensity, while the slow downhill jog makes your legs work to fight against gravity. Be careful running down hill.

Step-ups on stairs:

If you are able to find a low bench or a set of stairs nearby, perform step-ups first with one leg then switch to the other.

Calf raises:

Hold onto the stair railing for balance. Stand on the edge of the stair and rise up onto your heels. Drop the heels down towards the ground then repeat about 30 seconds.

Finish your jog or fast walk and take time to cool down, do some static stretches, and enjoy the scenery.

—Submitted by Florence S., University of Saskatchewan