Misty Newman

By Misty Newman

Lacking motivation to get to the gym?  It may be time to take your workout into Mother Nature; a playground of endless workout opportunities, free and open 24 hours per day.

You have the added benefit of the fresh air and sunshine.

A study published by Environmental Science and Technology found that people who exercise outdoors have higher energy levels, decreased tension and stress than people who only workout indoors.

So, if you spend a lot of time in your home, office, gym or car, getting a great workout with the sun beaming on you might be exactly what the doctor ordered to relieve stress.

Outdoor workouts are great for your mental health, but they also have amazing physical benefits. For example, hiking or walking on uneven terrain (like at a park or hiking trail) requires more body control and balance.

Here are some ideas for CrossFit exercises that you can do outdoors at one of our many lovely Maricopa parks.


Use Your Body Weight

Workout 1 (5 Rounds)

–          5 Pushups

–          10 sit ups

–          15 squats

Workout 2 (5 Rounds)

–          10 burpees (squat thrusts)

–          20 Bench Jumps

–          30 Pushups

–          40 squats

–          50 Lunges


Just Burpees

Do 100 burpees in as little time as possible. If you do this at full intensity, it should leave you short of breath. Experts in the CrossFit community agree burpees can be extremely taxing on the body when done repetitively.

According to health and wellness writer, Katherine Martinko, this movement, when done correctly, “will teach efficiency of movement, build explosiveness and develop that all-important ‘engine’ that keeps you going through a tough workout.”

Play Ball

No gym, no problem! Use a variety of balls outside to get a total-body strength and cardio workout. Collect all the balls you have – basketballs, soccer balls or Swiss balls to create different drills. You can use them as weights or cones, or to do unstable pushups.

Get Creative

Playgrounds, parks and paths all have a myriad of equipment that is perfect for training. Try different bodyweight exercise like inverted rows, dips and pull-ups. Take along a resistance band to attach to a bar for a full-body workout.

Stairs are another excellent way to get exercise. It’s the perfect outdoor workout because the intervals are built in. Add variety to target the different muscle groups. You can bound up every other stair, side step, high knees or even sprinting up the stairs like Rocky.

Fun Runs

Forget the treadmill and go on a fun run instead. Before you begin, decide on five or so bodyweight exercises (push-ups, burpees, lunges, etc.) and choose landmarks (park bench, red light, Amtrak Station) where you have to stop and do 10 reps of that move.

These outdoor workouts are just a few examples out of endless possibilities.  Make your workouts fun and head outdoors to reap both the mental and physical benefits.

Misty Newman is the owner of Maricopa Outdoor Adventures.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.