Use the Outdoors as Your Personal Gym | Get Out | Salt Lake City Weekly

Use the Outdoors as Your Personal Gym 

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Go to the gym. Do squats. Jog on a treadmill. Bor-r-r-ing! Instead, why not get good legs and a better butt in the great outdoors? When you use ordinary features of the landscape to look good and be more athletic, there must be 50 ways to lose your blubber.

One word describes a great-looking lower body today: muscular. This muscularity includes the roundness a rear end gets when the glutes are used often, and the nice curve or cut of muscle in the thighs and calves that comes from working them hard. You don’t have to join a gym to get this look. Even better, the muscles you develop in the world outside your door will be functional as well as good looking. You can use them. They will make your everyday life easier, and make you more athletic.

Create your own exercise routine in the natural world. For example, there may be a small but steep dirt hill near your home, rugged and covered in weeds. Sprint up it; you’ll be working your legs and your aerobic system at the same time. Repeat for sets of reps. The steeper the pile of dirt, the more squat-like it will be for your legs as you run up it. Take this to another level by doing it up long, steep hills at a ski area, where the altitude makes the air thinner and every motion takes more work.

Go for a more vigorous session in either of the Cottonwood Canyons, where the terrain is covered with small boulders. Keep a steady pace while walking up and over small rocks, hoisting your full body weight with each step. If you want more of a workout, wear a backpack with a dumbbell or weight plate in it. Secure the weight by stuffing it in a towel or throw so that it doesn’t shift around as you run and climb. If there’s a sturdy fallen tree trunk, practice walking along it in one direction and back to improve your balance; again, do this for reps.

Use the weight in your backpack or use a small handy rock and do deadlifts: Bend at the hips and, keeping your back straight (especially the lower back), pick up the weight or rock from the ground, stand up straight, then bend down and put it back on the ground. Deadlifts are the secret to getting that rounded butt that is so attractive on both men and women.

If you’re an athlete, beginner or elite, use the outdoors to get a valuable agility workout that will help you move like the wind through traffic in any team sport, or through a pelaton, or around crash-causing pavement obstacles when you’re skating. A dry streambed is perfect for agility footwork (though with the late snow, you may have to wait a while to find one). Run along the streambed while balancing your body over uneven terrain. Wearing supportive hiking boots with a good tread will help prevent ankle sprains.

Begin looking for natural features you can use for a consistent workout. Step up on and over a small fence or barrier; repeat until your legs get too exhausted to safely do it again. If you’re in a local park with picnic tables, step up on the bench, then the table, then the bench on the other side, then step down. Repeat this while running, without missing a beat.

Create a workout routine from the ordinary features outside your door. Do you have a little landing outside your door with the customary three steps? Jump up them, one or two or three at a time (but don’t jump down, that kind of landing is hard on the knees, hips and ankles). Practice running over weed-covered terrain without looking down at your feet to improve sure-footedness. Practice precision footwork by walking along a curb without stepping off it onto the sidewalk.

Working out in the real world is much more interesting than the chrome and mirrors of a commercial gym, and it’s a perfect way to get the nicely curved butt and thighs you’ve been wishing for.

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About The Author

Wina Sturgeon

Wina Sturgeon is an outdoor adventurer and a Salt Lake City freelance writer.

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