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Make the Park Your Gym

As long as I can remember, I loved early morning workouts in a big park, with lots of trees, fresh air and a cool breeze. I can turn a park into one big gym and get a full body workout featuring cardio and strength training all in the great outdoors.


I would like to share with you my routine and a few of my favorite exercises. All you need are good shoes, comfortable clothes, park bench or a picnic table and a fence.


I always start with a warm-up. I start with Pilates standing roll downs, which I will explain to you later in the blog.


Before each exercise I do a light jog or a walk. I come up on a bench and perform one of my exercises. To me this is the perfect way to work out. It makes it more interesting and fun. I want to share five of my favorite exercises I do in the park.


Pilates Standing Roll Downs


  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your spine in a neutral position. Relax your arms beside your body.
  2. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and nod your head forward and let your shoulders drop forward as you start bending your upper back one vertebrae at a time. Your arms should hang from your shoulders.
  3. Keep your abdominals engaged. Tuck your pelvis and reverse the movement, slowly rolling up one vertebrae at a time to your standing position. (Repeat 8 times)


*It warms up the spine and relieves back tension and slowly warms up and stretches the hamstrings.


Seated Frogs


  1. Sit close to the edge of a picnic table or a park bench. Grip the edges of the bench, fingers facing forward. Position your spine in a C-curve. Knees should be up with heels together and knees apart. (Scoop out the abs)
  2. From this position lean your torso back and extend your legs. Engage your inner thighs and point your toes. Resist your legs and body back to the beginning position. (Repeat 8 to 16 reps).


*This works your abdominals, inner thigh, hips and knees.


Triceps-dip with reverse plank and leg pull (kick)


  1. Place hands on the edge of a park bench, legs extended, arms straight, lift pelvis, shoulders down and neck long.
  2. Begin by bending your elbows and drop pelvis toward the bench into a triceps dip.
  3. From the triceps dip straighten your elbows and lift your pelvis and kick one leg all in one movement. Lower the leg with your pelvis still high to return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.(Repeat 10 to 15 times)


*This works abdominals, triceps, shoulders, hip flexors and legs.


Plank Push up to Arabesque


  1. Place your hands on the edge of a picnic table or on the back of a park bench. Position your body and legs into a plank with your heels high. Place your feet hip width apart and hands in line with your shoulders.
  2. Have your abs engaged and tuck your tailbone under. Bend your elbows to a push up position. Push back to a long spine and extend one leg to Arabesque.
  3. In one movement, lower one leg and return to push up position and repeat with opposite leg. (12 to 16 reps)


*This works pectoral muscles, triceps, biceps, shoulders, upper back, hamstrings and gluts.


Pretzel Squats


  1. Find a strong fence that will support your body weight. Face the fence and place your hands in line with your shoulders. Place one foot above the knee with the hip open.(Pretzel Position)
  2. Stand tall on one leg with your spine long and start to lower your body down, pushing your weight into your standing heel. Your standing heel remains flat during this movement.
  3. Pause then lift back up in a controlled movement to your starting position. Repeat 8 to 12 reps on each leg.


*This works quads, gluts and hamstrings.


I hope you enjoy this fun workout that I have enjoyed for years. So get out to the park and get some fresh air.


Teri Seier Moore


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