My super client Milena and I went to the park this Sunday to work on some new moves and stretches and get a good training session in. Driving home, tired and happy, I was thinking of the benefits of training at the park.
1. You breathe fresh air. Those of us working in gyms know how great it feels breathing air that hasn't been circulating through pipes and filters. You share your breath with nature, not 100 guys and girls breathing hard in the same room. If there is wind, you are lucky, nature's AC is on.
2. You spend time in the sun. Bright light and colors improve mood, stimulate creative thinking and deepen concentration. You will also make some vitamin D in the process to stock up for winter.
3. You work with different training implements: you use your body weight, bars, swings, benches, kettlebells, bands, ropes, balls and rings, while the gym is usually limited to a few machines, bars, dumbbells or barbells. You may be lucky to have rings or TRXs at your gym, but honestly, are you using those in your workouts? Even just using a different pull up bar offers a whole new range of stimuli, from climbing up to get to it and get back down, to managing the thickness of the grip and the texture.
4. The park is no chore. Because it is less of a structured environment, training in the nearby park or out at the beach allows you to experience freedom and joy from moving your body in a way your familiar gym cannot offer. You don't have to go there, you want to go there and that makes a world of difference.
5. The park is crowd free and comes with its own running trails, you can lift, run, lift, run and then lift and run some more. It won't close down, there won't be people who want to use your kettlebells or curl in your squat rack. What is best, you can have a picnic with your friends after... you know training makes you hungry.
6. You don't have to be alone. Think about this...you can take your friends or family with you and train, while they are watching you or having another type of fun. I don't know that your local gym would welcome such a happy crowd. Is your dog lonely at home eating at your couch while you are at the gym? Bring him with you!
So far, you have learned that maybe it's not a bad idea to throw some bands and weights in the car and get to the park asap.
Once you are there, you can play around with favorite exercises or you can try our Sunday workout, as follows.
We chose 6 exercises, each done for 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest interval.
Kettlebell snatch - perform as many as you can per arm in 30 seconds
Take 10 seconds break and move on
Jump squats - do as many as you can as fast as you can for 30 seconds
Take 10 and move on to
Band presses - 30 seconds on
Chin ups - 30 seconds on
Band lunges - 30 seconds on
L-sit - 30 seconds on
Take a break until you feel recovered enough to move on to the next circuit. You can perform 2- 6 circuits depending on how advanced you are. I personally did 3 and Milena did 4.
Of course, you can use the park just to take a walk, stretch, do some deep breathing and just get your head together, but whatever you do, don't forget to pay it a visit at least once a week. It pays off!