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A-Z of outdoor exercise

Restrictions are easing……..The sun is coming out……..Training and exercising commences………. This last year has been strange for everyone, the gyms closed, routine went out the window, banana bread was everywhere, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to think about getting back on top of your workouts.

So here is my A-Z for exercising outside. AIR The best thing about exercising outside is the fresh air. Increasing the amount of fresh air you have promotes better brain and body function as well as increases serotonin levels (the happy hormones BENCHES No equipment. No worries! Just a simple bench can provide a range of exercises from step ups (make sure shoes are clean first), press ups, tricep dips, split squats, mountain runners or core exercises CARDIO This can be done anywhere and can mean anything that increases your heart rate and keeps it up for a prolonged time. So walk, run, cycle, roller skate, skipping – just head out the front door and off you go DEVICES This can mean a tracking watch or even your phone. By tracking your steps, distance, times or heart rates you’ll be able to keep an eye on your progress and that itself is motivation enough to continue EARLY or EVENING The great outdoors does not have opening hours so you can chose a time which is convenient to you, before work, during lunch, after work there really are no EXCUSES FREE One of the well known barriers for exercise is the cost, but outdoor exercising does not have to cost anything. Just heading outside with a travel mug to your local park is free but the benefits are worthwhile GYM EQUIPMENT (OUTDOORS) A lot of local authorities installed an outdoor gym in parks for the sole purpose of being being able to exercises without it costing anything. They all have instructions on what they are and how to use them and include a range of cardio and resistance machines. HYDRATION An individual requires roughly 1ml of fluid for every kcal they burn. So if you burn 1000 kcal a day you need to replace 1 litre of fluid. Staying hydrated is important to regulate temperature and to transport nutrients and waste around the body. INTERVAL TRAINING Interval training is working out at maximum capacity for a short period of time with short recovery periods. It’s one of the favorite training methods as it is intense but short. All you need is a timer (can be downloaded free of charge into your phone) and a list of exercises. For example squat, jumping jack, press up, mountain runner, plank 30 seconds on 10 seconds rest, repeat 5 times. JEFFING This is a term runners use for run/walking. Whether you are learning to run or trying to improve your technique, speed and stamina Jeffing is the best way to do it. It can be as easy as running to one tree then walking to another or setting intervals on your phone to tell you when to run and when to walk. KIT What do you need? This obviously depends on the type of workout you are doing but as a basic shopping list; Trainers with a supportive soul, jogging bottoms/leggings, sports bra (obviously for the women there) a breathable vest or T-shirt and a waterproof jacket. Shopping around will help you decide what is best for you and there are some great value options out there. LENGTH OF WORKOUT This is your chance to tailor your workout for you. If you’re just starting out set yourself a goal of 20mins then increase it as you go. The physical activity guidelines for the UK suggests 150 minutes of moderate activity per week so you do not need to do a 2 hour workout each day just because you see others going it. MENTAL HEALTH The brain is the most complex organ of the human body. So we need to look after this. Even just 10 minutes of physical activity can increase mental alertness. So even if you do not see physical results straight away your mental well-being is already Improving. NUTRITION You’ve read it before ‘80% nutrition, 20% exercise’ ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ whilst the statements might not be exact there is some truth to the fact you need a healthy balance between healthy eating and exercising. The governments eat well plate is a great example of explaining what you should be eating to keep yourself healthy to compliment your training. OBJECTIVE What is your reason why? Are you trying to lose weight, feel healthier, become a better runner? Whatever it is do it for you! Following someone else’s plan or finding exercises online could mean you are not going to receive the results you want for yourself. Make a list of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it PERSONAL TRAINING Over the past year 80% of my personal training business has taken place outside. I didn’t take a lot of equipment with me and for my clients that one hour workout was enough for their mental and physical health even if it was just an hour to get away from home working/home schooling. If you search on your local social media groups you’ll find there will be a PT local to you working outside waiting to help you. QUEST Your workout doesn’t have to be the ‘norm’ – why not set up a quest to go outside and find things. You can run/walk/cycle either alone or with the kids/partner and make a list to find certain animals, insects, trees, post boxes etc. You could be out for half hour or an hour without realising it. RESISTANCE BANDS Possibly the most versatile piece of exercise equipment you can find and one of the most sold out items during lockdown. These lengths of rubber bands come in different shapes, thicknesses, sizes and can be used for training every muscle in your body. They are also very easy to transport, just put a few in a backpack and off you go. STRETCHING As important as the exercise itself, performed after any kind of training with help improve flexibility, suppleness and range of movement. More importantly it is a great way to unwind after your workout and can be done anywhere. Hold your stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times and this will help reduce risk of injury. TALK TEST This is the easiest way to determine how intense your workout is. Moderate exercise you would be able to hold a conversation (or sing along to your playlist) with minimal effort whereas intense exercise you would struggle with a few words. So use this as your guide as to how hard you want to push yourself. UPPER BODY Training outside doesn’t always have to be all about legs or cardio, you can equally work your upper body. If you’re walking in the park and see a flat surface/wall, try a set of 10 press ups, when you see a bench try a set of 10 tricep dips. Can’t do a pull up? Lay on the floor underneath a metal rail and pull yourself up from that. VITAMIN D The body creates this from direct sunlight and it’s important to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Between October and March our bodies see a decline in the ability to obtain this nutrient and lockdown has also contributed to this. The easiest way to top up is to head outside or you can find it in foods such as oily fish and red meat. Supplements are also available in health shops. WARM UP Before performing any physical activity ensure you warm up your muscles first. Whether it’s a walk or slow jog this will help prepare your body for exercise and reduce risk of injury. XENACIOUS A yearning for change! Whether it’s wanting to change your lifestyle, transition to outdoor training or for social purposes – being xenacious best describes it YOGA You may have walked past a patch of grass and thought how peaceful it looks. Why not grab a yoga mat, find an online yoga workout and give it a try. Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility and also relaxes you. There are plenty of free online videos easy to follow, just pop your earphones in and follow along on your phone. ZINC Another important nutrient our body needs. Zinc helps boost your immune system and metabolism and can also help shorten the length of colds. Your body doesn’t produce this naturally so you can find it in supplements or foods such as fish, meat, dairy and eggs.

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