When it comes to keeping up with an active and healthy lifestyle, we can’t let travel, work, or lack of gym access get in our way or else we’d never see results! That’s why outdoor workouts can be a great option.
In the words of motivational speaker Tony Robbins, “Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.” The same goes for keeping a solid workout routine.
We’ve got you covered, by covering both strength and cardio in this 1-hour outdoor workout you can do anywhere!
Choose Your Own Outdoor Workout Adventure
Before we dive into the “how-tos” of your 1-hour outdoor workout, we’ll review the benefits of being outside and the nature of what to include in a well-rounded workout. If you’d rather jump into it, feel free to hike ahead to the 1-Hour Outdoor Workout: Strength & Cardio You Can Do Anywhere section!
Benefits of Outdoor Workouts
You get mega kudos for doing a 1-hour workout in the first place! Exercise is associated with weight control, reduced risk of disease, improved mental health and sharp thinking.
Getting fit outdoors will grant you even more wonderful perks. Outdoor workouts can also boost your mood, save time and money, and be adaptable to anywhere you may be or traveling to.
Getting moving while soaking up the sun or breathing the fresh air has been shown to improve mood. This is partially because sun can increase your body’s production of vitamin D which is linked to better mental health. Outdoor activities can also improve self-esteem!
Since outdoor activities only involve your body and a place to exercise, it doesn’t cost anything and you can do it pretty much anywhere. You’ll save costs on gym memberships, equipment, and commutes. Even if the weather is bumming you out, we provided alternative exercises that can be done indoors as well. No barriers to getting buff.
1-Hour Outdoor Workout: What to Include
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a well-rounded fitness regime should include these elements: cardiovascular training, resistance training, and mobility or flexibility training.
We’ve included all of these elements into your 1-hour outdoor workout so you can reap these amazing benefits. Before diving into the actual workout, let’s talk about each one of these elements in more detail
1. CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING
Cardiovascular training (cardio) helps train your heart to be more efficient at pumping blood through your body. The term refers to increased breathing in order to pump oxygen and blood to muscles and cells throughout the body.
Cardio exercises are typically considered to be the ones such as running, cycling, swimming, or rowing. But cardio can also include weighted exercises as well.
Incorporating cardio helps you do daily activities such as walking, taking the stairs, biking, and cleaning the house. Cardio is also known for its amazing health benefits for your heart and circulatory system. Mayoclinic praises that cardio also helps burn calories, boost mood, and improve sleep.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that the average American aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, spread throughout the week.
2. STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength training is exercise that put stress on the muscles and joints. It’s a specific type of training that helps you build muscle mass and become stronger. Weight training differs slightly in the fact that it’s training with weights, such as hand weights or machines, to improve health and fitness.
Strength training builds muscle, which can help increase metabolism — how effectively you burn calories. It helps build stronger bones and reduce the risk of fractures. According to Cancer.org, it also helps joint flexibility which can reduce symptoms of arthritis. Strength training also helps you perform daily movements such as lifting, pushing, and pulling.
General recommendations suggest that you should do 20-30 minutes of weight training at least two to three times per week. Your weekly exercises should focus on every muscle group at least twice a week.
Not sure how to hit all muscle groups? We got you covered in your 1-hour outdoor workout. We also recommend using the Fitbod app which uses a training algorithm to build a personalized workout plan, making sure to tackle all muscle groups.
3. FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY
Flexibility and mobility are often overlooked. It makes sense, especially when you’re pressed for time and want to make the most of your workout. But these arguably may be the most important components of a long-lasting fitness program and physical health.
Think about it — if you have poor posture, flexibility, and pain, these can impact even the smallest daily movements.
ACE recommends that in order to improve mobility, to do stretching at least two to three times per week, although daily is better. Balance movements or activities, such as yoga, are also a great addition.
1-Hour Outdoor Workout: Sample Program
This classic format of exercise is excellent for making life easy. It can also be adapted to be done in a gym or even at home.
- 5 minute warm-up
- 20 minutes cardio
- 30 minutes strength
- 5 minute cool-down/stretch
For each section, we’ll provide a few options for you to choose from. You can do the same pattern each time or mix it up. In each section we provide an option that can be done outdoors and one that works for at-home. So no excuses rain or shine 😉
For this workout, all you’ll need is your body, a timer or watch, comfortable workout clothes and shoes, and a space to move around safely.
Alright, let’s get moving!
5 MINUTE WARM-UP
Before starting each workout session, a five to 10 minute warm up session will help to get blood flowing to your muscles. A proper warm-up has been shown to decrease the risk of injury as well as reduce muscle soreness. It also increases mobility and gets your mind in the game
The best way to warm-up is to do exercises that mimic what your workout will be. For instance, if you’re going for a jog, walking is a great warm-up.
Choose one of the below:
5-minute fast walk or jog
- Begin the walk or jog slowly at first then gradually build up speed.
- You should be breathing easily and just starting to feel your muscles and lungs getting warm.
5-minute slow jumping jacks
- Stand with feet together and arms at your sides.
- In a moderate speed movement, jump feet out to about shoulder width while raising arms above your head.
- Reverse the motion back to starting a position.
- Take smaller jumps so your body has time to warm-up.
20 MINUTES CARDIO (AND LEGS)
This is the sweaty stuff. This will help develop aerobic capacity by getting your heart pumping.
We’ll be referring to some of the exercises according to the rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE). This is a scale that runs from 0-10 relating to the difficulty of the activity. For instance, 0 means nothing at all (what you’d feel like when sitting). And 10 is extremely heavy (feeling all out, max capacity).
Choose one of the below:
- This should be at a somewhat difficult to difficult pace.
- RPE of at least 5.
- You should feel out of breath.
- You can also alternate in a HIIT fashion.
- RPE of at least 7 for one minute, followed by a recovery of RPE around 2-3 for two minutes.
20-minute cardio circuits
Time yourself and do as many rounds as you can fit into 20 minutes. One counts as both sides (left and right leg).
- 20 standard high knees
- Quickly bring your knees up to your chest, one at a time.
- 20 wide high knees
- Same as above but with legs slightly wider than your shoulders.
- 20 butt kicks
- Quickly lift your feet towards your bum.
- 20 jumping jacks
- Just like the warm-up but faster and harder.
Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod app, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercise videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.
30 MINUTES STRENGTH (LEGS, ARMS, AND CORE)
Bodyweight exercises are an allstar way to build muscle. Keep in mind that form is always extremely important. Good form increases the power of your workout and prevents injuries.
To help guide you towards the best potential of your bodyweight workout, checkout Fitbod’s app for bodyweight exercises. It will give you an entire training session with instructions for targeting the muscles you want.
Time yourself and do as many rounds as you can fit into 30 minutes. There’s only one option available here since this can be done both outdoors or indoors.
10 side leaps
- Targets thighs, quads, calves, glutes.
- Stand straight with feet together.
- Bend knees then hop as far as you can to the left side, landing on the ball of your foot. Make sure to keep core engaged.
- While keeping the right leg up, bend your left knee and hop as far as you can back to the right side.
- Targets quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Take a large step forward with one leg while keeping the majority of your weight on your front foot as you lower your hips.
- Descend until your back knee almost touches the floor (a 90 degree bend in both knees).
- Push yourself back up.
- Targets quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes turned slightly out.
- Drop hips back and down with your knees behind toes.
- Make sure your knees don’t collapse inward.
- Lift yourself up, using your glutes.
- Targets chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and core.
- Can be done on the grass, a park-bench, and be modified by doing it on knees if you prefer.
- Bring your hands flat on the ground or on a park bench, directly under your shoulders.
- Your feet should be slightly wider than hip-width apart on the floor. Legs are straight behind you with toes curled under.
- Keeping a straight line from your head to heels, lower your chest to the ground, keeping elbows tight next to your body.
- Extend arms, then push your body away from the ground and back.
- Targets triceps, shoulders, and core.
- Can be done on a park bench or a stable chair.
- Sitting down, place your hands on either side of your hips.
- Bring your butt forward, off the chair while supporting your weight with your hands.
- Bend at your elbows, bringing them to 90 degrees, then go back to the starting position.
5 MINUTE COOL DOWN
After each exercise session, cool down for five to 10 minutes. Stretch the muscles that you used, focusing on all the major muscle groups such as calfs, quads, hamstrings, lower back and chest. This also allows your heart rate and muscles to return to normal.
2-3-minute slow walk or walking in place
- This should be easy.
- Focus on bringing your heart rate down.
30 second leg stretch
- Pull one leg at a time behind you to stretch your quad.
- Bend at knee and keep it close to the other knee.
- Your heel should be touching your bum.
30 second arm stretch
- Cross your arms across your body.
- Give yourself a big hug.
30 second chest stretch
- Lace finders behind your back.
- Straighten arms and look at the sky.
30 second core stretch
- Get on hands and knees.
- Arch your back like a cat.
- Then bow it out like the letter “C”.
Switch Up Your 1-Hour Outdoor Workout: FITT Principle
You should be proud of yourself for establishing a healthy and consistent fitness plan. Consistency is the key to a successful fitness plan. And the 1-hour workouts focus on all the elements that create well rounded exercise.
But to keep seeing results and continue building a healthy body and strong muscles, it’s essential to mix up your workout from time to time. You may notice a few signs that indicate its time to change it up.
If you stop seeing results, this is a sign that your body has adapted and therefore may have hit a plateau. If exercise leaves you feeling very drained, sore, or aching, this could indicate that you’re doing too much of a certain type of workout. This is common when it comes to intense exercise such as HIIT.
If you’re feeling bored by an exercise, this is no fun. You want to do exercises that are mentally engaging and keep you motivated. If you’re cruising through your workout on autopilot, it can also mean that you’re not mindful of what you’re doing, potentially putting you at an increased risk of injury.
ACE identifies that each person progresses at his or her own rate, but it’s a good idea to change up a routine about every six weeks. Change up the routine by switching up one of the four variables: frequency, intensity, time, type — FITT.
Here’s what each acronym means and how you can apply it to your 1-hour outdoor workout.
- Frequency: how often you complete your workout.
- If you start by doing your 1-hour outdoor workout once per week, increase it to twice per week.
- Intensity: how hard you work out (heart rate or muscle strength).
- Incorporate sprints during your cardio session or increase the weights you use.
- Time: the duration of your workout.
- Perhaps you’re taking breaks during your hour workout when you could be using the time. Or if you’re able, add an extra five.
- Type: the format or form of activity.
- Try adding bands to your workout. Or switch up the types of cardio and strength you’re doing by using the Fitbod app as a guide.
Remember that safety is always most important. Outdoor workouts can carry an element of risk due to weather conditions, trail or track instability, and dangers of traffic or unsafe areas.
But outdoor workouts can bring you bountiful benefits. Bodyweight activities that are done outdoors are just like nature intended. Take in the beauty of being able to workout outside. Breath that fresh air, take in the beautiful views, and get grateful for your ability to move your beautiful body.
Author: Lisa Booth