Free fitness: An outdoor workout for summer

Do you want to get buff on a budget? Costly memberships, yearly fees, and equipment rentals can make exercising expensive. But you shouldn’t have to break the bank to break a sweat.

This summer, burn calories, not cash, by making the outdoors your personal gym. All you will need for the following alfresco fitness routine is your sneakers and a bench.

Lateral step-Up
Improves: Lower body strength and joint stability 

  • Start by standing next to a bench. Position your right leg on the bench so your foot is slightly in front of your body.
  • Push through your right heel to elevate your body while simultaneously driving your left knee up toward your torso. Repeat 12-15 times, then switch sides. 

Split squat
Improves: Lower body strength, joint stability, flexibility, and balance 

  • With your back facing the bench, take a large step forward with your left leg.
  • Move your right foot behind you and position it toes down on the bench.
  • Keep your body weight in your left heel and slowly lower your body until your left knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold for two breaths then return to the starting stance. Repeat 12-15 times, then switch legs. 

Balancing belly blaster
Improves: Total body balance and core strength 

  • Sit on the bench with your hands firmly placed on the seat.
  • Slide your butt off the bench and walk your legs out until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Your palms and heels should be supporting your weight.
  • Slowly lift your left arm and right leg straight out in front of your body. Try to maintain your balance for five seconds then alternate to the left arm and right leg. Continue this sequence for 20 repetitions.

Push-up twist
Improves: Total body balance, core strength, and overall posture

  • Place your hands firmly on the bench and walk your feet back until you are in a high plank position.
  • Keep your core muscles engaged as you lower your body toward the bench for a push-up.
  • After completing one push-up, elevate and rotate your right arm until your body is in a side plank position. Hold for two breaths, then lower your arm, perform another push-up, and rotate to the opposite side. Continue this back-and-forth rotation for 10 to 12 repetitions.

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.