21 Natural Exercises – No Workout Equipment Required

At Hawaiian Ola, we believe in doing things the natural way. That applies to the things you eat and drink as well as we you exercise. In this post we explore 21 ways  to exercise in a variety of outdoor environments without expensive equipment.

If you don’t own your own equipment, you have to find time to go to the gym. Once you’re there, you have to hope the machines you need are free If they’re not, you waste time waiting for them. There’s also the question of an expensive gym membership.

If you decide to use your workout equipment at home, depending on the machines you need, you could be out thousands of dollars.

Why subject yourself to that when gravity and your own body weight are the only equipment you need?

These 21 exercises can be performed anywhere—outside, inside, even while watching TV!

1. Walking

Walking might seem basic, but it can be a great way to get in your cardio while enjoying the great outdoors. Find a good hiking trail, take a couple of circuits around your local park, or just walk around your neighborhood! Keep your pace brisk to burn calories.

2. Sprints

Sprints are one of the most efficient forms of cardio. Run as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then walk for one minute. Repeat this 10 times.

3. Running Up Stairs

An ordinary run around the park can be made twice as effective if you can find a flight of stairs to run up and down. It’ll work your quads and calves, all while increasing the efficiency of your run.

4. Long Jumps

Bring a mat or towel along on your workout, and jump from one end to the other. Shuffle back to your starting position, and repeat 10 times.

5. Burpees

These start off with a jump, followed by a squat with your hands on the floor. From there, jump back into a plank position briefly, before jumping your feet back toward your hands. Return to a standing position, and finish with a clap at the top.

6. Tightrope Walking

If you can find a log or curb about six feet long, you can work on your balance. Hold your arms out to the side and walk across it, turning on the balls of your feet when you reach the other side. Doing this for three minutes will provide a fabulous workout for your calves, quads, and core.


7. Lunges

Lunges are the perfect way to top off any workout, indoors or out. At some point in the movement, you’ll work every muscle in your legs. To perform a lunge, simply step forward from a standing position so that your front knee is directly over the ankle. Your back leg should bent, also, so that the shin is parallel with the floor.

8. Wall Sits

These can be performed anywhere in your house where there’s a wall. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight against the wall, and your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold this position for as long as you can to work all the muscles in the front of your thighs.

9. Step-Ups

You can use any set of stairs in your house to perform these. For more of a challenge, find a footstool or sturdy chair. Step up onto the elevated surface, then step down again. Repeat while alternating your legs.

10. Squats

You can perform squats free-standing, or you can use a chair. Keep your legs hip-width apart and hold your arms out, parallel to the ground, as you brace your abs, bend your knees, and push your hips back. Keep your torso straight throughout the entire movement, and then come back up.

11. Floor Raises

These are variations on the “superman”, where you lie on your belly and lift your arms and legs a few inches off the floor. Do several reps with your arms in different positions: reaching straight forward, out the side in a “T”, and in between, in a “Y”.

12. Hip Raises

Lying on your back, bend your knees and extend your arms out to each side. Keeping your belly in tight, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips. Pause for five seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times.


13. Yoga

Yoga is the ultimate indoor exercise—you can perform single poses, like Boat Pose, in conjunction with other exercises on this list. Or, you can string several yoga poses together to create a full workout.

14. Dancing

Dancing is a great example of cardio that you can perform indoors. Just put on your favorite tunes and move your body! In addition to getting exercise, it’ll lift your mood, as well.

15. Planks

Planks are amazing core strengtheners. All you need to do is get into position—wrists under shoulders, core engaged, heels pressing back—and stay there for as long as you can. Forearm planks and side planks are two variations that work different aspects of your core.

16. Crunches

This is the go-to exercise for strengthening your abdominal muscles. Make sure you’re using your abs and not your back or neck muscles to lift yourself up and don’t worry if you can’t get your head up very high. If you’re persistent, you’ll have stronger abs in no time.

17. Tricep Dips

These tone the muscles on the backs of your arms, and you can do them using any sturdy piece of furniture. Position your hands on the edge, on either side of your hips. With your legs bent and your feet hip-width apart on the floor, slowly bend your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms and return to your starting position.

18. Leg Lifts

These are one of the easiest ways to work your abdominals. All you need to do is lie on your back with your legs straight in the air, together and with your toes pointed. Slowly lower your legs until they’re about an inch off the ground, then slowly raise them again.

19. Calf Raises

All you need to do to perform calf raises is raise your heels up, balancing on the balls of your feet, and then lower them again. You can perform them with toes turned inward or outward to work different parts of your calves.

20. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks will raise your heart rate, and they work multiple muscle groups, to boot. Best of all, they’re contained enough to do indoors.

21. Jogging In Place

You can get a run in without leaving the house, and you don’t need to spend money on a treadmill! Jog in place while you watch television, and you can cross exercise off the list for the day.

Images courtesy of Hawaii Yoga Festival

Chris Whidden