So: you’re economising in an attempt to reduce the personal impact of the post-Brexit financial meltdown. Or maybe you’ve got a lovely park near you and spend most of your time at a desk so you wouldn’t mind getting an occasional glimpse of that big ball of fire in the sky. Or you’re allergic to mirrors. All entirely valid reasons to shift your workout away from the gym – but if that isn’t enough, consider that one recent investigation saw 800 people report reduced levels of stress and anger from training outside, while another study linked it with increased energy.
And apart from fresh air and oxygen prompting the release of feelgood hormone serotonin, there are other benefits. Five to 30 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week will improve your body’s vitamin D levels, helping you build stronger bones and a more robust immune system.
Of course, dumbbells and squat racks can be hard to find outdoors, but that’s no obstacle. “With a bit of improvisation, you can mimic any workout you’d do in the gym outside,” says trainer David Jackson of the School of Calisthenics. “So if you don’t like the gym, there’s really no excuse.”
Even if you do like the gym, it’s still worth popping your shades on and your shirt off and hitting the grass for a workout now and then. See you in the park.
RECOMMENDED: Outdoor Fitness Classes in London
Mobility training: it’s the new stretching. And the good news is using a select handful of dynamic movements won’t just improve your range of motion – it’ll get your circulation going and challenge your co-ordination. Forget doing an hour of yoga, just borrow a variation on the classic sun salutation. “Think of this as a slow-motion burpee,” says trainer Rannoch Donald. “It engages almost every muscle while providing a fantastic stretch.”
RECOMMENDED: Mobility Training Home Workout
The Aim A full-body warm-up that increases flexibility, sharpens mental focus and sets you up for a successful training session.
Why “Do this three or four times a week, and you’ll see your hip, ankle and knee range of motion improve,” says Donald. “Even if you don’t want to squat or do Olympic lifts, that’s certain to improve your quality of life.”
- Start with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forwards.
- Squat down by bending at the knees and hips and place your hands between your feet.
- Move your left foot backwards so you’re in a lunge position.
- Move your right foot back to assume a press-up position with your body in a straight line.
- From here, drop your hips to the floor while keeping your arms straight. This position is the traditional yoga “cobra”.
- Hold the cobra position for a second, then raise your hips, do one press-up, and reverse the whole move until you’re standing up.
- Do one rep, take one breath, then repeat for two, three and four reps and breaths. Rest for a minute, then repeat. You’re ready to start your workout.