Well it may not be feeling like spring just yet but here’s a quick post to help you prepare for when the sun does decide to shine!
Outdoor Exercise in the Spring
[Outdoor exercise photo credit: By Jmyreen, via Wikimedia Commons]
Spring time is upon us which means you no longer need to exercise in a dark, sweaty gym. Of course, you can stick with this if dark, sweaty gyms are your thing, but at least now you have other options beside this.
The brighter, warmer days are a great excuse to get outside, get some fresh air and enjoy the view. You’ll find that exercising outside is a great stress-reliever too. Studies have shown that there are four main activities that lessen stress levels: exercise, being in nature, socialising and indulging in a hobby such as playing music or reading a book.
So by exercising outside, you’re ticking two of those boxes. Your senses are being stimulated which is an important part of alleviating stress, so concentrate on how the air smells, how the grass feels under your feet, all the bright colours of the flowers and so on.
Enjoy exercising solo? You could try walking, running, cycling, yoga or Pilates. The benefit of exercising alone is not worrying about struggling to keep up with someone else – although this does mean that you need to keep yourself motivated. In the absence of a friend you could listen to music and wear a pedometer or heart rate monitor to track your progress. Don’t forget safety though: be sure to stick to populated areas and tell someone where you’re going.
If you prefer to get fit in a group environment then an exercise class might be for you. Boot camp style fitness classes are often held in local parks (look for notices in local community centres) or you could have a game of football or tennis in a park – or simply go along with a friend and a Frisbee.
If you’re looking for a programme to follow, the National Trust together with outdoor fitness specialists Eco Fitness have developed a free outdoor exercise plan that you can follow come rain or shine. The 31-day course includes power walking and tree press ups and ‘spotty dogs’.
And by the way, it is possible to dress for sports and still look stylish – when exercising outdoors you need to layer up; wear a vest with a long sleeved top or sweatshirt and joggers to build a barrier between yourself and any wind. Take a sports bag to carry any belongings, or if you’ve got an mp3 player you can strap it to your arm. Make sure you get a good, supportive sports bra, which good retailers should be able to advise you on. You may need different ones for varying activities, for example low impact bras are best for walking whereas high impact bras are suited to running. This video explains how to choose a sports bra:
You’ll also need to invest in a good pair of trainers which will support your feet properly depending on your activity. Fitness shoes are designed for aerobics, for example, but you’ll need running shoes specifically for running activities. Speak to advisers in your local sports shop for guidance.
Make sure you warm up properly before heading outside so that you don’t pull any muscles – especially if there’s a temperature difference between the outdoors and your home. The NHS has a great guide to warming up properly before engaging in any sports or exercise.
Are you looking forward to exercising outdoors once the weather gets better?
*post in partnership with Shopstyle