It’s time to ditch the stuffy gym and get active outside – it could give you bags of energy and lift your mood, too!
Resent having to drag yourself to the gym when the sun is shining? Pull on your trainers and take your workout outside instead. ‘Exercising outdoors increases energy levels as well as exposure to vitamin D, to help with health and metabolic function,’ says Natalie Summers, personal trainer to Bear Grylls. Plus it could improve your mood as research has found that exercising in natural environments decreases feelings of anger and depression. Try these al fresco fitness ideas.
HIIT the hill – High intensity interval training on an incline is one of the most effective fat burning exercises. ‘Hill sprints are great to raise your fitness levels and make your body work harder,’ says Natalie. ‘Find a hill with a gradient that you are happy with and mark out roughly a 50-metre distance (place your water bottle at your goal). Warm up and then complete an uphill sprint, running at 70-80% of your maximum capacity. Use the walk back down as your recovery. Repeat five times.’
Make your run fun – map out a route in a park, mentally listing landmarks you may pass, such as a bench or a bollard, and every time you see one, do a particular exercise, such as 10 push-ups. ‘You can take some simple kit with you, such as a skipping rope,’ says Natalie. ‘Skip for two minutes and have a two-minute break, until you reach 10 minutes. Change the pattern each time ie fast or slow, move the rope forwards or backwards. Variety is key to reduce boredom but also to challenging your body,’ she adds.
Get fit on the beach – the uneven surface makes your body work harder. A study showed that running on sand takes 1.6 times more energy than exercising on a hard surface. ‘Beach workouts increase the instability underfoot and help strengthen feet and ankles,’ says Natalie. Don’t fancy a jog? Try volleyball or frisbee. And to cool off jump in the sea – swimming over the waves will give you extra resistance for a tougher workout.