Nov 18, 2020

Health: 5 fun ways to exercise outdoors


Nicola McKenzie

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Splashing at the seaside or completing picturesque hilltop hikes; there’s nothing quite like getting fit in summer. Saying goodbye to warm weather doesn’t mean your outdoor workouts have to be over, however; in fact, experts say that getting active outside during winter is good for you. Due to natural ventilation, working up a sweat is actually safer outdoors than in. What’s more is that it actually boosts your immune system, too!

Here are our five favourite outdoor exercises:

1. Power Walking 🏃‍♀️

Though it’s cemented in our collective consciousness, that ‘10,000-steps-a-day’ goal was actually dreamt up in the 1960s as part of a marketing campaign for pedometers. These days, it’s recognised that aiming for anything over 6,000 steps is beneficial, particularly in protecting from cardiovascular diseases. If you want to up your walking game and work a few more muscles, power walking could be the exercise for you. It takes a little getting used to, but the benefits are apparent after just a few sessions.

Maybe you have a destination in mind — your favourite coffee shop, maybe, or a scenic lookout — or you just fancy stepping out; either way, make sure you dress appropriately for colder weather. Several thin layers beats one thick one as this makes it much easier to regulate your temperature, and comfortable shoes with decent grip are important, too. Lastly, a versatile mask (such as this one, which doubles up as a scarf) allows for last-minute detours when a seasonal latte calls your name. 

2. Yoga Running 🧘

Running has long been recognised for its health benefits, both mental and physical; it lifts your mood as well as keeping you fit. One way to destress further when you’re out pounding the pavement is to take up the new trend of yoga-runs. Pick a picturesque spot on your route where you can stop to take in the scenery and do some Asana poses, too.


3. Mountain Biking ⛰️

Though the start-up costs of mountain biking are higher than the other exercises listed here, the benefits — for your joints, mood and heart — are worth it. Cycling is an easy sport to take up if you want to spend time with friends, too (due to its social side, it’s been called ‘the new golf’!). If you’re headed out for a full day of pedalling across rocky terrain, stay hydrated and bring a lightweight jacket for breaks at the side of the track.


4. Circuits 💪

If you enjoyed a strict regime of garden HIIT over summer, there’s no reason to stop now — working up a sweat is just as important in winter. Dark mornings and evenings might make you feel like you have less get-up-and-go, but once you’re out there, the exercise will be invigorating. Find a friend who wants to get fit, too, and start a schedule with them; the encouragement will be welcome, and meeting up in the park or playing field is a great excuse to get out of the house.


5. Sea Swimming 🏊‍♀️

Wild swimming’s popularity has recently increased dramatically, and with its exhilarating effects and multiple benefits, it’s easy to see why. Taking the plunge in cold water improves circulation, metabolism, and even sleep. There are a few rules for keeping safe if you choose to swim outdoors in winter, though. Start by taking a brief dip and build up to longer times in the water — this reduces your risk of cold incapacitation. Never go wild swimming alone, and wrap up in neoprene to retain body heat when temperatures plummet. 

How have you been keeping fit this winter? Let us know on Twitter, or tag us in your workout selfies over on Instagram.