How about befriending a local park bench this Monday? Start your week with a smile by using what’s handy as free exercise equipment.
Being active outdoors, such as in your neighborhood park, is extra beneficial for your health. Studies show that nature promotes mental health, happiness, improves our ability to focus and concentrate, and helps our body to make vitamin D.
Start with a Walk
If you live in walking distance to a park (or another outdoor space with benches), start your week by walking a Monday Mile! Walking itself is good for us and, depending on your pace, it can be aerobic!
Once You’re at the Bench
There are many simple exercises and stretches you can do using the bench as your exercise helper. If you’re looking for something low impact, the bench can make things easier.
For the upper body, try doing bench push-ups. Using a bench to do push-ups is a lot easier than doing push-ups with your hands on the ground! Place your palms on the bench seat or back, directly under your shoulders. Put your feet straight back behind you, toes on the ground with your back flat and abdominal engaged. Then lower and raise yourself by bending and straightening your elbows.
You can also use the bench to boost an exercise challenge. Do step-ups with alternating legs. If that wore you out, have a seat and do some gentle bicycle peddling, alternating your legs and bringing your opposite elbow to your knee. This gives your legs and glutes a workout.
Here’s a secret: on bad-weather days, you can pretend a chair in your home or workplace is a bench. Try some seated chair yoga to keep yourself loose and stress-free. Or do bent-knee chair dips to get your blood flowing. Facing away from the chair, place your palms on the chair behind you and bend at the knees and elbows, dipping your body towards the floor and raising yourself back up.
Mix It Up
If you think of the benches as exercise stations, you can always add some spice by jogging from one bench to the other, between exercise sets.
Use every Monday to the fullest by being outside, walking to a park, and doing a quick workout with a nearby bench. Keep pushing yourself throughout the week to reap the benefits of your Monday. Share your bench exercises with Move It Monday on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #MoveItMonday!
Nancy Bruning, MPH, is the author of over 20 books on health, the Founder and CEO at Nancy Bruning’s Nancercize, public speaker, and certified leader of outdoor fitness classes for all ages and abilities.