Getting fit outdoors: Alternative ways to get fit
Getting fit and feeling healthy doesn’t need to involve expensive gym memberships and lots of Lycra. In fact, there are many much easier ways to boost your fitness levels. From taking the stairs instead of the escalator, cycling to work and getting out and about to explore the city on foot, getting active could be easier than you thought.
Given that so many of us spend hours attached to mobile phones, or hunched over computer screens, a blast of fresh air in the great outdoors can also be a brilliantly effective way to de-stress and get your essential dose of Vitamin D - just don’t forget to put on plenty of sunscreen.
Walk, don’t drive
Swap the car for a brisk stroll at any opportunity. Although the temptation to jump into the driving seat can be enormous, the health and fitness benefits of walking are undisputed. According to one study of 334,000 people by researchers at the University of Cambridge, just 20 minutes a day cuts your risk of premature death by almost a third. If lack of time is a factor, get into the healthy habit of setting your alarm a little bit earlier? If you’re taking to the streets, all you’re going to need is a comfortable pair of shoes - the Flyroam collection of high top and low top trainers have been designed with this in mind.
Get on your bike
Cycling is another effective way to get fit outdoors. It’s low impact, which means it won’t put as much strain on your joints as other more high-impact aerobic activities, such as running, can. Some experts suggest 150 minutes a week is enough to build your cardiovascular fitness levels, which should be easy enough to achieve. A couple of short rides during the week and a longer excursion at the weekend and you should soon be feeling the benefits. A durable pair of sneakers, cycle shorts and a t-shirt are all you need.
Take a hike
Grab your Timberland Hiking Boots and head out into the countryside. This weight-bearing form of exercise is not only good for cardiovascular fitness, it’s weight bearing, which means it’s good for bone health too. A study carried at Stanford University in the USA, also found that strolling around a green place could stop people dwelling on negative repetitive thoughts, even more than walking around an urban setting, such as a city or a town, does. Viewranger is the free (and very handy) GPS-enabled route-finder app that can help you find the perfect walk, whether you want to challenge yourself to a weekend trek or just fancy quick lunchtime stroll. It works globally too, so you can jet off anywhere with it.
Run, jump and leap
Founded in the late Eighties, parkour or ‘freerunning’ involves a lot of running, jumping, climbing on, leaping off, crawling over and rolling under obstacles. But don’t let that put you off. This super-trendy activity is as fun as it is challenging and organisers run sessions for children and families, as well as thrill-seeking grown-ups.