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Fitness Can Be Fun: How to Bring Exercise to the Backyard

Out of the water
If you’re still considering getting a pool or hot tub, or are in the process of having one installed, there are still ways to enjoy an outdoor workout out of the water. Many of the exercises you may already be doing indoors can be easily brought into the summer sunshine. Yoga mats, aerobic steps, exercise balls and free weights are just as effective on the patio as they are in the living room or basement. Avoid using the lawn, however, unless you have an extremely level backyard. Trying to strike a yoga pose near a slope or gradation could quickly lead you to lose your footing and risk injury.

For those looking to recreate a more traditional gym outdoors, there are some exercise equipment manufacturers that offer gym-style gear designed specifically for outdoor use. Though they can sometimes resemble playground equipment, these gadgets offer all the staples of the gym, from elliptical cross-training and stationary bicycling to strength and stretching exercises. For those with enough space (and a big enough budget), many backyard designers can even incorporate full tennis and basketball courts into your dream oasis.

The following five minute warm-up will help relax your muscles before you start your aquatic workout.

1. Standing in waist-deep water, bend your body at the hip – first to the left then to the right – holding each position for 10 seconds. Continue for one minute.

2. Standing in waist-deep water, pull your shoulder blades together by forcing your elbows back as far as possible and hold 10 seconds each time. Continue for one minute.

3. Standing in chest-deep water, place your feet together and bounce up and down in place, pushing off and landing on your toes. Continue for one minute.

4. Standing in waist-deep water, with legs slightly apart, lean forward and place your hands on the pool/hot tub wall. Bend your right knee forward and move your left left  behind, hold for 10 seconds and then reverse. Continue for one minute.

5. Standing in neck-deep water, stretch out your arms in front of you and then move your arms back as if you were swimming, bringing your arms back together again. Continue for one minute.


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