The days of dark mornings, 4:30pm sunsets, and wearing every layer you own are long gone. Summer. Is. Here! Warm weather makes life easier to navigate – especially here in Chicago! – and while the opportunities to veer on the unhealthy track with rooftop happy hours, long Sunday brunches on a patio, and ice cream shops calling your name, summer is a great time to change-up your workouts by taking them outside!

Take advantage of long daylight hours, pleasant temps, and community events to stay fit while enjoying the outdoors. Here are a few ways to get stronger while you enjoy the summer:

Active Commuting 

Run, walk, bike. Any way you do it, use yourself to get around as much as you can this summer.

You can walk with friends, or entertain yourself with a podcast, music, or simply your thoughts.

Take different routes to mix things up, or find one route you enjoy.

Use to plan your trip and to know how long it will take you.

Park It

Go to a local park (no matter how small) and get creative with your workouts.

Run the perimeter, do suicide sprints, or bounding jumps for cardio. All things that require more space than a gym or living room.

Use park staples like benches, bleachers and playground equipment to strength train.

Bench/Bleacher exercises

Push-ups (hands on bench for incline/easier, feet on bench for decline/harder)
Split Squats
Box-jumps (be careful!!)
Tricep Dips
Uneven Squats

Playground Exercises 

Monkey Bars (Do them fast!)
Pull-ups on any bar
Slide – climb up it!
Hanging rings – Pull ups or hanging leg raises
Swing – Pikes; put feet on seat, hands on ground, pull feet towards face piking hips into air.
Hamstring curls; lay face up on ground, heels on swing, pull heels towards butt, keeping hips elevated.

Portable Equipment 

Resistance Bands – I use flat bands like these.

TRX suspension training – Great investment! Can wrap around a fence or tree and use at home on a door anytime. Get here.

Backpack – Great for your active commuting! Here is one option of many.

Community Classes

Check local stores and city events page for (typically) free events.

Popular is yoga in the park, run groups, and bootcamp style workouts.

Research shows the positive effects nature has your mental state, from lower stress hormones to improved blood pressure, many of the effects exercise has so why not double up!

Have you ever worked out on a playground?

What’s your favorite way to workout outdoors?



Published by Samantha Kellgren

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