The 5 Best Ways To Exercise Outdoors
Quick, before it inevitably smashes it down with rain for the next six months.
The weather is finally resembling something that looks a little bit like... dare we say it... summer. And if you're anything like us then you'll want to relish every second of sunshine and soak up that elusive vitamin D. We don't get much of it, so when the sun does decide to show its face, we sure as hell ain't missing it. That means we won't be wasting our sunny Saturday mornings in a dark, sweaty gym, we won't be spending those gloriously balmy evenings in a windowless spinning studio, and bikram yoga can absolutely do one. But we still need to get our fitness fix, which leaves us with one option - the great outdoors.
And the outdoors really can be great! Take advantage of our rare non-freezing/rainy/windy days and take your workout to the street (or the park, or the field, or basically anywhere without a roof). There are so many advantages of working out outside; you can breathe in real oxygen instead of recycled air-con and the sun on your face can't fail to boost your mood. If you want to benefit from everything nature has to offer, whilst also getting your daily dose of physical activity, try one of these outdoorsy pursuits.
Get outside with a calisthenics workout like Darren Onyejekwe:
1. Paddle boarding
It's the sport that was made for Instagram – imagine it, the board beneath your feet, the wind in your hair, paddling confidently on crystal clear water – what's not to love? And as well as doing numbers for the 'gram, paddle boarding is actually an incredible workout. Requiring a rock-steady core and impressive upper-body strength, a morning of paddle boarding will leave you feeling ripped, toned and hugely exhilarated. Grab your mates and head to the coast to find a beginners' session.
2. Obstacle courses
If you want to connect with your inner marine, then why not try one of the UK's many different obstacle course challenges. Varying in distance and intensity, you can start small with a 5K and build up to marathon distance with ice water and electric-shock obstacles (if you're feeling particularly brave). Signing up for a big challenge like this can be a great incentive to keep working hard all summer and ensures you'll be outside enjoying the sunshine... until you get dunked in the mud that is.
3. Trail running
Trail running takes your local run around the block to the next level – and off-road. Experience the exhilaration of dashing across uneven ground, charging through overgrown terrain and powering up hills – nature at it's very best. Running on softer surfaces can be kinder on your joints, and you'll even use more muscles to help you keep your balance when the path gets rocky.
4. Social netball
Local summer netball leagues are a fantastic way to get outside and keep fit in a really sociable and fun way. Even if you haven't played netball since school, you'll be surprised how much you remember and how quickly you can get back up to speed. Team sports help improve your agility, explosive power and co-ordination, and the post-match socials are pretty fun as well.
5. Outdoor bouldering
It doesn't get much more outdoorsy than clambering over a giant rock. Bouldering is a great first step for novice climbers and doesn't involve as much complicated equipment. There are some fantastic spots across the country to transfer your skills outside, but beware – outdoor climbing involves more awkward holds and delicate footwork, so make sure you've mastered the basics before taking on the great outdoors.
Words by Natalie Morris