12 Low Impact Exercises to Do In Your Backyard or Local Park
You were Made to Move and when you do, you’re improving not just joint health but your overall health, too. Whether you’re looking for workouts to do at a park or backyard exercise ideas, there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate movement wherever you are.
Let’s first get into the biology of exercise and its connection to joint health. Your skeletal system contains a substance called synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints. Quite simply, physical activity helps circulate that fluid around the joints helping the bones move past one another more smoothly.
Do you remember your junior high science class learning how the heart pumps blood throughout the body? Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout your circulatory system — including your joints —and when you get the heart pumping, your whole body enjoys a healthy dose of what it needs.
Moving onto physics class: Isaac Newton’s first law of physics states that bodies in motion stay in motion. Okay, in our case, staying active helps us to continue to stay active and do the things we love. Research shows keeping your joints in motion activates a force in your system that helps rebuilds cartilage — the tissue that protects your joints. But, use your judgment. As the adage goes, “everything in moderation.” Overworking your body can have the opposite effect, too, so tune into how you’re feeling and know when it’s time to take a break. It’s always best to have a quick chat with your physician to understand what types of exercise are right for you.
Now that we’ve graduated from our mini-science class, let’s get onto exercises and activities you can enjoy outdoors.
Get out into your own backyard, find a local park or visit a public swimming pool to be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Complete your routine by bringing Osteo Bi-Flex® along for the journey. Products like Osteo Bi-Flex® Ease and Triple Strength + Turmeric delivers long-term support to your overall joint health so you can continue doing what you love.* And best of all, you can feel a difference in your joint comfort in as quickly as 7 days, drug-free.* Now that’s something to sprint outside and shout about.
WORKOUTS TO DO AT A PARK
There’s no need to sink money into special equipment when you can take advantage of the objects around you. Most parks, for example, have a few sturdy benches that can double as exercise machines — no massive weights to lug around here. Let’s get started.
Park Bench Press
Facing a park bench, extend your arms to grasp the top of the seat back to form a plank pose. Your body should roughly be at a 45° angle depending on the height of the bench. Tighten your stomach muscles and tuck your hips to form a straight line. Then, slowly and gently, bend at the elbows just like a push-up. To avoid injury, be mindful to never lock your elbows when straightening as you complete the movement. Once you feel comfortable to take it to the next level, try this move with your hands on the seat to bring greater intensity. Commit to two sets of 10-15 standing push-ups.
Use that bench again to work your triceps, shoulders and core with this exercise. Start by sitting on a bench with your hands grasping the edge of the front of the seat on either side of your thighs. Supporting yourself with your hands, slide your butt forward and slowly bend your elbows and knees to “dip” your body until your upper arms are almost parallel to the ground. Return to the seated position and repeat. Keep your lower back close to the bench during this move and aim for 12 to 15 reps.
Visit your bench again for this move. Stand about one foot from the bench facing away from it. Rest the top of your left foot on the seat of the bench. Place your hands on your hips and slowly bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Take a breath and press into your standing heel to rise back up. Alternate legs and aim for 10 to 12 repetitions.
Find a curb with at least six feet of uninterrupted expanse. Stand straight and raise your arms out to your sides forming a ‘T” shape with your body and walk your local “balance beam.” Do this for three minutes.
Picture it: The cool wind refreshingly invigorates soul as you ride into the sunset. All right, maybe we’ve gone too far. But cycling is a great way to enjoy nearby bike paths, explore areas you’ve yet to discover and possibly spot some wildlife along the way. Or simply ride a the pathways at your local park. Whether you have your own bike or rent one from a local bike shop, you can enjoy the numerous benefits. Cycling raises your heart rate and tones your legs, stomach and buttocks as you cycle. And meanwhile, your arms, chest, shoulders and back are worked simply by stabilizing your body while you ride.
Walking: A Good Exercise
Many people don’t see the benefit of simply walking since it comes naturally to most. If you can cross the room without thinking, then how can you justify it as exercise? Okay — a few steps to the fridge or the front door doesn’t quite cut it, but walking is a true exercise that builds aerobic fitness. It’s one of the best low-impact and free exercises around.
If you’re just starting a routine, aim for a 10-minute walk 3-5 days a week. This attainable goal will help strengthen your muscles and get your heart rate up. Walking releases pressure from your joints — and as you gain strength, aim for longer walks and with increased speed.
BACKYARD EXERCISE IDEAS
Keep it local! Here we have a few ideas you can do in your own backyard or driveway.
Soft Shoe Shuffle
This is a good one for the backyard — all you need is a little space. Stand with your feet hip distance apart with your elbows bent and hands at your ribs. Then starting with your right foot, take three large steps to the right and slide your left foot to meet your right. Bend your knees, jump up and pivot to the other side and repeat this motion on your left side. Alternate sides for one minute each.
Good old fashioned jumping jacks get the heart pumping and work the calves, shoulders and core, too. Have fun with these and aim to do 25.
Have a basketball hoop? Shooting free throws is a great way to get the heart pumping — especially if you’re new at it. Okay, aside from chasing a ball after a bad shot, free throws works the shoulders, arms, chest and back muscles. Bring a friend and play a good old-fashioned game of Horse or perfect your trajectory on your own. Keep it up and you’ll be hustling the young players in no time. If you don’t have a hoop, check your local park.
Water offers more resistance than air, so it pushes your muscles to work harder without much impact. It’s also a versatile place to work your entire body to build muscle, burn fat and strengthen your cardiovascular system. Start by simply walking in the shallow end. You’ll feel the resistance in your legs and core. Or try the basic move when just learning to swim — holding on to the edge and kick. This is a great aerobic move.
If you’re confident with your balance, consider rollerblading. Gliding, as opposed to repeatedly hitting the pavement like with jogging, reduces the stress on your hips and knees. But please, don’t forget your helmet, wrist guards, and knee pads.
Last but certainly not least, never discount the exercise (and joy) you get from playing with your pet. A trip to the park, the backyard or around the neighborhood with your furry friend will make your joints happy. Playing fetch or going for daily walks is a great way to improve your physical health while reducing stress and lowering your heart rate. If you don’t have a dog to get outside with, offer to walk a friend or neighbor’s dog.
We don’t need to remind you that exercise is a healthy habit. It helps prevents excess weight that can put pressure on your joints — plus, it strengthens muscles, helping joints feel stronger. Daily exercise allows you to continue enjoying an active lifestyle, because as we always say, you were Made to Move. Nurture your body with low-impact activities and round out your routine with help from Osteo Bi-Flex® and get outside!*