Here's How to Make the Best of Your Outdoor Summer Workout When You Live in a City

A jog around my neighborhood means stopping at every intersection, encountering overcrowded parks, and feeling convinced that cool breezes are extinct — these are the realities I experience while exercising outdoors in New York City all summer long.

To top things off, 2020 tacks on the added responsibilities of social distancing and wearing a mask in public. (Learn how to safely exercise outside, here.)

These factors aren't stopping me from enjoying my summer workouts outdoors, though. Eugene Moore — a NASM-certified personal trainer associated with Blink Fitness — is making the best of his situation, too, by prioritizing moves he often neglected with access to advanced gym equipment.

For one, public resources are helping Moore spice up some of his current go-to exercises like lunges and push-ups — benches especially.

"[Public benches] can be used for incline push-ups if you're a novice or decline push-ups if you're more advanced. They can also be used for step-up, split-squat variations, and dips," he says.

Don't count out your local playground, either — Moore adds that the monkey bars can double as a pull-up bar in a pinch.

You can also use public staircases to add an incline to push-ups or squats for a high-intensity sweat, and while you're there, try jogging or walking up and down the stairs for cardio.

Luckily for Moore, his outdoor cardio options are a lot dreamier than a staircase.

Although the Californian lives in a city, he has no problem accessing a beach path for running and cycling. When that's not an option, Moore picks a large city block to run around like a track, which solves that intersection interruption problem I mentioned earlier.

But, we still haven't addressed the elephant in the room: public crowds. It's a frustrating reality of city living — especially in 2020.

When parks, bike trails, and neighborhood streets get too hectic, Moore's solution is to set up in an empty parking lot or open field (safe ones!). Because these areas don't have amenities, they attract fewer crowds.

In these circumstances, he boosts his workout with portable fitness gear, like jump ropes and resistance bands, to get an effective sweat in.

"With [resistance bands], you can replicate many of the exercises you do at the gym with barbells and dumbbells. Major compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and presses can all be performed with resistance bands," he says. And what about the brutal summer heat? It goes without saying that it's so important to work out in the shade and drink plenty of water.

In addition to those tactics, Moore is all about hyping yourself up.

"Psychologically, I've convinced myself that I'm getting more out of my workout when I'm breaking a sweat in the summer heat," he says.

If you're in New York City and happen to see a woman running up and down shaded stairs giving herself a major pep talk and chugging water — you can assume that's me. Feel free to wave.

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