Outdoor exercise ideas and why you should try them.
There is no debating the physical and mental benefits of exercise, but what about working out outdoors? Outdoor exercise can just be as effective as indoor ones, it can be more fun, and have extra health benefits too, for example, in between April – September when the sun is more likely to be out, you’ll gain your daily dose of vitamin D. Exercising outdoors means you will feel the benefits of the fresh air, which can boost our energy levels, reduce stress and help you sleep better. Plus, it’s completely free! So what exercise can you do outdoors?
Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.
Before you start
Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don't cause blisters will do.
If you're walking to work, you could wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes and change shoes when you get into work.
For long walks, you may want to take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sunhat in a small backpack.
If you start going for longer walks regularly, you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket and some specialist walking shoes for more challenging routes.
How do I know if I'm walking fast enough?
A brisk walk is about three miles an hour, which is faster than a stroll.
One way to tell if you're walking briskly is if you can still talk but can't sing the words to a song.
You could also try using the free Active 10 app on your smartphone.
It tells you when you're walking fast enough and suggests ways to fit in some more brisk walking.
Why not look at joining a local walking group as a way to make it social and meet new people. The Ramblers website has a list of all walking groups across the UL.
Running it a great way to keep active and fit, it’s free and you can enjoy the fresh air and the environment around you. You can keep it varied by doing different routes, terrains and distances. It’s important to ensure you start slow and steady if you’re a beginner, and gradually build up your distance. Why not ask a friend to join you to make it more sociable, or look up your local running club.
Remember, one of the most important factors when it comes to running is ensuring you have suitable footwear due to the impact on all your joints. It’s a good idea to get your gait analysis done at a running shop so they can advise you on your running style and the most appropriate footwear for you. There are so many different running trainers out there, it is best to get support from a running shop. If you don’t, you could end up injuring yourself and running will become unbearable.
Many parks across the UK have a dedicated space with outdoor gym equipment available for anyone to use free of charge. So have a search on the internet at the nearest one available to you. You can also make use of the park space and tie in a walk/jog too!
Not only is cycling an excellent cardiovascular exercise, but you can really explore your community by cycling to different neighbourhoods or in parks, bike paths, or trails. Many people cycle to commute to work.
It’s important to ensure your bike is fitted properly to your body, otherwise, you will put too much pressure stress on your back or knees.
Outdoor sport ideas
Why not try football, tennis, basketball or netball, there are outdoor pitches suitable for these types of sports, usually near parks or fields. There is possible a charge to use the pitch, but if you are playing with others or for a team, the cost can be split so it shouldn’t be too costly. These types of sports are more fun as you play with others, and are all a great workout, getting your heart pumping and using all your muscles in your body.
You may have always fancied giving kayaking a go, rowing or open water swimming! These may be a little more outside the box, however if you fancy a challenge or just doing something different, these could be the sports for you.
Outdoor activities can be adapted to suit anyone’s levels of fitness, they tend to be free or are cheaper than a gym membership, you gain your daily dose of vitamin D and feel fresher and more energised. You may just want to exercise on your own, or with a friend, or join a team or club. There are lots of opportunities to get more active outdoors. Start by walking to more places rather than relying on public transport or car, as soon as you feel the benefits, it will be your motivation to keep going!