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Gentle Outdoor Workout

Gentle Outdoor Exercise

10 Low-impact Exercises to Stay Active at Home

We get that you might miss your normal workouts at your favourite facility. We miss you too! Let us help. Below are some suggestions on how to use your outdoor space to stay active.

Warm-up (15–20 mins)

Repeat these two exercises as you walk:
1. Single arm circles
Lift arm about four inches from the side of body and circle like you are stirring with each arm.

  • Right then left arm: circle forward eight to 12 times
  • Right then left arm: circle backward eight to 12 times

2. Arm lifts
Thumbs touching thighs, gently lift or raise your arms in front of body to your shoulder level and lower back to thighs eight to 12 times.

Routine

Complete eight to 12 repetitions of the following exercises and repeat one or more times. If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start slowly and work up to more. Over doing it can set you back and slow your progress.

Bench squats
With a bench or chair beneath you, press hips back as if you are going to sit down, keep chest up, and lightly touch your bottom on the seat and then stand back up straight.

Walking lunges with swinging arms
As though you are slow-motion cross-country skiing, take a big step forward with your right leg as you slightly bend left leg while swinging opposite arm alternately forward. Alternate each side.

Curbside step ups
Facing a well-maintained curb or raised sidewalk, step up and down. Alternate each side.

Tree push ups
Stand slightly away from tree (approximately four to six inches). Place hands on tree with elbows bent and tucked into rib cage. Push your upper body away from tree then return to starting position. Keep torso long with navel in and engage thighs and glutes for safe posture.

Single leg swings
Stand next to a tree. Place your hand on the tree to balance yourself and lift your outside leg in front of you and then swing gently backward with a controlled momentum. On the backswing, tap your big toe four to six inches behind you. Stay tall with head, shoulders, and hips in line with each other. Switch sides.

Single alternating foot tap
Balance on one leg and bring other knee up to about hip height. At the same time, reach your arm (opposite side to leg you are lifting) up to the sky. Return to standing and repeat with other leg and arm. If able to reach, bring your knee up and tap the bench seat in front of you with your foot. Switch sides. If your balance is unsteady, lean against a tree or wall instead, or hold onto the back of a bench or chair.

Seated leg extension
Sitting on park bench (or chair) with your back tall and fully supported on the back rest, pull in your navel. Exhale as you extend both legs straight out in front of you. If it’s too difficult to do both legs at the same time, this exercise can be done one leg at a time instead.

Overhead reach into half bend forward fold
Stand tall in front of a park bench (or chair) with a back rest. Pull your navel in. Inhale as you raise both arms from your sides to overhead, lengthening your torso as you reach up. Keep your spine tall and with your back flat, slightly bend your knees and then lower arms in front of you and touch the top of bench/chair. Pull your navel in as you reach back up and return to starting position. This exercise can be done with one arm at a time.

Single arm side bends
Standing tall, reach one arm overhead (hold arm tight to body, next to your ear). While keeping torso long with shoulder down, bend (sideways) to the opposite side of the arm that is raised. Repeat on the other side

Back Fly (bent over single arm raises to the side)
Stand behind a park bench (or chair) and hold onto back rest. Step back from the bench far enough that you have a long flat back with extended arms. (pull your navel in slightly). Keep a very small bend in the knees. With one arm resting on the back of the bench to support the upper body, raise the other arm out to the side at your shoulder level, squeezing the shoulder blade as you lift the arm. Slowly return the arm down to your side. Alternate each side.

Before participating, take the online ParQ+ fitness assessment. It is the physical activity readiness questionnaire to ensure you are prepared for physical activity. Please modify any of these fitness classes to meet your own personal fitness levels, drink lots of water, have fun and stay safe!