Free Exercise That Will Make You Fantastically Fit And You Can Do With Your Friends

No machines, no mirrors, no worries, not just running

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

I go to the gym 3 times a week, but I also like training outdoors. Running 5km twice a week adds more than just fitness; it also gets me out into the weather and nature.

A little little bit of rain; a hot, sweaty day; wind pushing into your face; a new sandtrap on the trail; a family with a dog that you have to navigate safely past — all make you feel as if you are alive.

But it is not running that will give your fitness a big boost.

Most people outdoors are walking or jogging. There are a few runners, and also, rarely, someone adding in a bit extra — perhaps running up a ramp.

Adding a little extra will be fun and a big fitness boost

With a little bit of imagination, you can add in some training that will significantly boost your fitness.

It is free simple no-equipment exercise, available to everyone.

The best part? It is infinitely variable.

There is one requirement, you best be dressed for a bit of exercise, not just a walk.

Keep this ratio in mind: 10:40:20:20.

You can keep the combination simple — as I describe below — or add in your own variations.

The combination uses three well-known exercises: push-ups, sprints, and lunges. These will do you wonders, especially in addition to your regular walk or run.

I do add my own quirky variations which will make them more challenging, and also add more value to your fitness. I recommend that you try them.

Feel free to step the pace of the sprinting portion up or down or whatever you can manage. I sprint like a madman; you might be comfortable with a brisk walk.

If you do sprint, you have to have a safe area — sometimes not so easy to find on the trail where I run.

Here’s the 10:40:20:20

Here’s the set, remember the 10:40:20:20?

Here is one repetition:

  • 10 push-ups — whatever way you can do, on knees, full push-ups, or harder variations.
  • THEN roll on your back and get your breath, with your HEAD POINTING IN THE DIRECTION YOU WILL RUN;
  • On a count — 5–4–3–2–1 — roll over and sprint 40 metres — that’s about 40 strides.
  • Turn around, get your breath, and then lunge 20 metres back — that’s about 20 paces.
  • Then walk the last 20 metres back to the start.
  • That’s one rep — you are ready to go again.

My tips

For the lunges, if you feel unsteady, hold your arms out from your shoulders to help you balance.

When your balance improves, hold your arms directly in front of your shoulders parallel to the ground. You will find this simple difference makes the exercise much harder. You’ll sweat from the coordinated effort of your muscles working to keep you balanced and moving.

Instead of turning back after the sprint, you might want to keep going in the direction of your walk or run. Walk or jog for 100 metres, and then do another repetition.

If you’re having trouble doing full-pushups my article below explains how to progress from doing them on your knees.

How many times?

Do four or five repetitions.

How many variations?

There are infinite variations — you could hold a plank instead of the push-ups, you could lie face-down and then jump up and run. You could run further, or run shorter and more intensely.

The variations are all good. All of them will benefit your fitness and add variety to your everyday outdoor walk or run.

The one thing that I would ask you not to leave out is getting up from the ground. That’s what wears us out as we get older, and we need to get all those teams of muscles working again.

You’ll know what I mean when you have done a few reps — you’ll feel the getting up part the most I suspect.

You might be surprised just how much fitness you can develop by doing this simple exercise set regularly. No machines, no mirrors, no worries!

Enjoy. Let me know how you go, and what variations you add.

I’m Walter Adamson. I write about life, health, exercise, life and cognitive fitness to help men and women over 50 live longer better. Get my free, weekly newsletter here. (Relevant to this article — I have a Professional Diploma in Sports Nutrition).

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Walter Adamson

Walter Adamson


Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | My Newsletter 👉