health and fitness in outdoor spaces

By. Marissa Siewert 

Changing up space is important even for keeping the body active, especially as the warm weather arrives! I am constantly taking my clients outside for their workouts to switch up the scenery. Reminded of my time living and performing in Berlin, with little access to fitness centers. I was determined to keep up my fitness goals but I only knew how to do so inside of the gym. I was forced to take my workout outdoors. Berlin was filled with parks and biking was encouraged. I quickly realized, I felt much more successful working outside than inside a crammed studio or gym on a nice day.

I bought myself a bike at a vintage shop and began riding up to 3 hours a week to rehearsals. I always felt accomplished after riding, but my body needed more strength, conditioning, and stabilizing for dance purposes. Not to mention, after 3 hours on a bike, the hips can lock, which is not beneficial to the dance body. I explored the park workouts more and more and I took this time to, get creative.

I would stretch and run intervals. Running intervals helped my endurance for biking and rehearsing. After running, I would work off the stairs in the park. Using the stairs or a bench, I created lunging, squat, and jumping sequences on and off of them in all 3 planes of motion to help strengthen my hips and legs. The addition of height adds an increase in flexion, taking the average lunge, squat, or jump a bit deeper. I’d find a grassy spot where I felt comfortable enough to hold a few plank variations then run back home to get deeper into my abs. I would grab my mat, to stretch for a good 10 minutes and take 5 minutes to meditate. To this day, I still utilize those park workouts for my clients and myself. Below I’ve listed a breakdown for you to try on your own OR even better, with a friend. 

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1 HR outdoor workout for YOU! Make sure you go hydrated with water.

Run: 

2 min warm up jog 

4 min run 

1 min walk

5 min run 

2 min walk

(Repeat x2) 

On a step: 

Right foot parallel lunge back, arms straight at chest height, bring to a balance x 15 

(Repeat foot internally rotated forward, arms over head. Then, repeat turn out to the side with arms in front of chest/rotating towards foot. Again, all on the left foot) 

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Stretch the entire body: legs, hips, and torso. 

Mat or grass work: 

In a plank, shift your weight into your right hand out to the right and then pull back to center. Repeat 10x, then left side for 10x. Keep your hips still and stable. 

In a plank, slowly drive your right knee towards your left elbow by dropping the right hip, then back to center. Repeat 10x, then left side for 10x. Let your hips rotate, squeeze your abs, and let your knee follow. 

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Re-hydrate plenty with more water! *BONUS* Get creative and add cucumbers + lemon

On your back, keep your lower back down on the ground, knees in tabletop. Lift the head neck and shoulders in a crunch and rotate between left and right, sending the opposite leg out at the same time. Move slowly so you can connect your mind and body. (15x each side) 

Before you stretch, sit with your legs crossed, close your eyes, and take a moment to thank yourself for putting in the important work and showing up for yourself. You can guide yourself deeper into a meditative state by focusing on inhale and exhale of your body. When your ready, stretch it out !