Outdoor Lower Body HIIT
Read Time: 2 min 42 sec
Gyms throughout the country are reopening with increased sanitation and safety precautions. Despite these preventative measures, you might still be hesitant about returning too soon. Thankfully, the warm weather provides us with endless outdoor workout possibilities.
The Benefits of Outdoor Workouts
Routine physical activity can help improve emotional well-being, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. New research suggests this effect may even be amplified with outdoor exercise. A preliminary study published in 2016 found that individuals with mild to moderate depression reported greater improvements in mood when they exercised outdoors compared to indoors. One theory as to why the outdoors positively impacts mental health is increased vitamin D synthesis from sun exposure (specifically, UVB rays). Low vitamin D levels are common in the United States and strongly associated with depression symptoms. There has been some concern that wearing sunscreen (which blocks UVB rays) will prevent the body from creating vitamin D. However, a study in 2019 found that sunscreen can be used without significantly impacting vitamin D synthesis.
Outdoor summer workouts can have several benefits, but it is also important to stay safe and prevent heat-related illnesses. Take the necessary precautions to avoid heat-related injuries by following these summer workout guidelines:
- Start slow. If you are new to exercise or have not been exercising frequently in hot temperatures, your body will require time to adapt to the new environment. Start with shorter workouts and a low to moderate-intensity. After a week or two of routine workouts, you can then begin to increase the duration and intensity.
- Hydrate well and often. Healthy, productive exercise depends on proper hydration to support blood flow (oxygen delivery) and body temperature (cooling off). Going into exercise dehydrated puts extra stress on our body, so start with a full tank. If hydration is not adequately replenished, there is an increased risk of a heat-related illness (exhaustion or stroke). Experts recommend that average adults drink 17-20 ounces of water in the 2-4 hours before exercise and then at least 8 ounces every 30 minutes during exercise.
- Exercise when the temperature is cooler. The hottest time of the day is usually between 3-6 PM.
- Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing. It will be easier for your body to thermoregulate if your clothes fit loosely and are not made of moisture-trapping material (e.g., cotton).
- Wear sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen can protect you from the risk of skin cancer, sunburn, and premature skin aging. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours or after sweating. Even if a sunscreen is labeled as “water-resistant” that does not mean it is sweat proof.
Outdoor Lower Body High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Knee Sprint
It’s not called a jog, it’s a sprint! High knee sprints are a great way to warm-up and a classic cardio HIIT favorite. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee up as high as you can towards your chest while raising your left arm. Then switch to drive your left knee up and raise your right arm. Keep an athletic stance, sprinting in place for 20-30 seconds.
In N’ Out Jump Squat
This move combines cardio and strength training to build endurance and muscle in your glutes and lower body. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, shifting your weight back towards the heels of your feet. Jump explosively out of the squat and bring your feet together, tapping them quickly on the ground and jumping up again to return to the wide squat position. Lower back into a squat and continue this circuit for 20-30 seconds.
High Knee Burpees
Finish out a solid, lower body burn with everyone’s least favorite exercise: BURPEES! Start in a plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Jump your feet forward to meet your hands to come into a low squat position. Jump up and tuck your knees up towards your chest. Lower your hands in front of you shoulder-width apart. Kick your feet back to return to the plank position. Continue the circuit for 60 seconds.
More Outdoor Workouts: