Exercising outside is much more challenging, and definitely more fun, than doing the same thing indoors. Here are 5 outdoor cardio exercises that require little equipment, but will absolutely kick butt when done correctly:

Lunges: To start, stand with one foot forward and the other one about 3 feet back. Bend the knees to lower your body towards the floor. Keep your bent leg vertical and be sure to lower straight down instead of forward. Keep your torso straight and abs pulled in tight as you move down and back up to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat the move. Try to perform at least 1 set of 8 reps per leg. Work up to 3 sets of 16 reps each.

Squats: Squats are one of the best lower body exercises you can do as it targets all the muscles in the hips, glutes, thighs and even the abs. From a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart and arms downward, begin to bend at the knees. As you start to squat down, begin bringing your arms up until parallel to the ground; at the same time, you are squatted down to chair seat height. Now start raising yourself back up and move your arms downward at the same time until back at the starting position. Shoot for a goal of 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 16 reps per set.

Step-Ups: To perform this exercise, you will need something to step up on. A curb works great. Start standing straight up. Now lift one foot to step up on the higher surface. Then bring the other foot up on the elevated surface also. Now step back down with one foot first and then the other. Focus on keeping your back straight and looking straight forward and not down. Do as many as you can (which won’t be many in the beginning).

Push-Ups: This is one of the most effective upper body cardio exercises you can do. There are three different versions of this simple move: Wide, Narrow and Standard Width. Each version works triceps and chest muscles in different ways. Start position is: body parallel to the ground supported by hands and forward part of feet. Slowly lower yourself by bending your arms at elbows while keeping your back in a straight line from head to feet. When your chest is 2 to 3 inches off of the ground, push yourself back up to the starting position. Do as many as you can, remembering to keep perfect form all the while.

Pull-ups: This is the only exercise in this list where you need a piece of equipment. If you are close to a playground find the “Monkey Bars” or you can use a horizontal tree branch. Reach or jump up and grab the bar. Pull yourself up until chin is level with the bar. Now slowly lower yourself back down until your arms are straight. Repeat as many times as you can. This is a humbling exercise that will test your arm strength to the max.

These 5 exercises are tough to perform in themselves. Add in some cold or hot temperatures, or rain, and they become even more challenging.

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