Athletic Asian woman exercising with a resistance band.

Create your own fitness trail

Add a new dimension to your next walk or run with these simple strength exercises you can do anywhere. 

Are you bored of the same old fitness routine?

Elisabeth Smitko

Elisabeth Smitko, HBKIN, CPTN-CPT

In the summer it’s great to be active outside and mix things up.   

If you’re lucky enough to have a fitness trail or path near you, it offers a great opportunity to do just that. These trails, often in a park or on a walking trail, include exercise stations with instructions for strength or stretching exercises, such as a bar for chin-ups or a balance beam.  

But if there’s no fitness trail near you, no problem!  

Here are seven strength exercises you can use anywhere to break up your walking or running routine. All you need is your own body weight and a park bench, plus a tension band that slips into your pocket.  

Adding strength training to your fitness routine will help you maintain bone density and muscle strength. Stretching will help maintain your range of motion to help perform daily activities. 

We’ve listed these exercises in order, working your large muscle groups first then the smaller ones. But you can do them in any order that works for you.  

Try stopping every five minutes; that will extend a 40-minute walk closer to one hour.

  1.  Stationary lunges
    (pictured) or squats. (12-15 times)
    Lunges

2. Pushup against a bench or on the ground if you are able. (12-15 times).
pushup
 

3. Row with a tension band. Place a tension band around a tree and pull back your arms using your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep your arms close to your body. (12-15 times).

Row

4. Shoulder press. Place the middle of your tension band under one foot and hold the ends with both hands. Start with your arms out to both sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Push upwards, straightening your arms over your head. Return to starting position. (12-15 times).
Shoulder press

5. Adductor/abductor exercise. Stand with both feet on the tension band and hold the ends at your waist. Take a slow step to one side, and control the band with your second step as you bring your legs back together. Take 12 steps in one direction then 12 steps back.
abductor exercise demo

6. Bicep curls. Place the middle of your band under one foot and hold the ends, gathering in excess, with arms at your sides. Bend both elbows, bringing hands to shoulder height, then release. (12-15 times).
Bicep curl

7. Tricep dips. Start seated on the edge of a park bench, with hands palm-down beside you. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slip yourself forward off the bench, using your arms for support as you dip your body as far down as you can, and raise it back up. (12-15 dips).
tricep dip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Fred Lang

    Where does one purchase a ‘tension band’ … what type do you recommend plus what length
    should it be and/or do they come in variable sizes or can the length be set ???

    1. Sharon Hollingsworth

      Hi Fred,
      Thank you for your interest in the Heart & Stroke blog posts! In response to your question, these tension/resistance bands are usually available at sporting goods stores. In terms of determining which one will suit your needs, I suggest you check with either a specialist in the appropriate store department or contact one of your local physiotherapy clinics for advice. Thanks again for reaching out and best wishes for a healthy and fit fall season! Sincerely, Sharon at Heart & Stroke

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