A Non-Runner's Guide to Working Out Outside

Outdoor exercise usually means running ... great if you’re a runner, but what about the rest of us?

When most of us think of taking our workout to the outdoors, we think running, right? And if you’re a runner, that’s great, but what about the rest of us? To that, we say: take it to the stairs!

Once you master the basics, stair workouts are a great way to get outdoors and create a calorie-busting workout without having to be a runner of any kind. We’ve created a video guide to help you get started; the tips here can be altered to suit your particular fitness level. The stronger you’re feeling, for instance, the higher the staircase you can use. You can also vary your workout by increasing the tempo at which you exercise, as well as the number of reps (times up and down) or sets you complete. We’ve also included an active recovery, to help you cool down, and this too can be tweaked to suit your ability — shortening the amount of time between sets of you’re a fitter individual, or increasing the amount of time or number of reps to suit your strength level. Since this particular workout blends cardio and muscle strength together, you might aim to repeat it two to three times a week to give your body some momentum.

Now, if you’re looking for a place to try this, there are stairs at every level all over the city. Depending on where you are, you might try the stairs at the Charlestown Monument or at Harvard Stadium, which are both are a little more intense — or if you’re looking for something smaller to start with, there’re the steps at City Hall Plaza, and all over the Boston Common.

One note of caution: as with any exercise, program, always follow a safe and effective warm-up period, for no less than six to eight minutes. Once warmed up, be sure to stretch, making sure you incorporate the muscles used in this particular workout. Hamstrings, glutes, quads, and hip flexors are among the bigger muscles being used, so take the time necessary to stretch each muscle for no less than 30 seconds each. If at any point during these exercise sets you feel light-headed or faint, be sure to take a break from it, catch your breath, hydrate, and let your body to readjust before continuing. You may not be used to this type of exercising — and it’s definitely on the intense side — so build up gradually to the level you’re after. Be safe, and have fun — it’s beautiful out there!