Low cost, accessible and always interesting, once you’ve joined nature’s gym, you won’t want to cancel your membership.
Lara Milward, co-founder of outdoor fitness trainers BlitzFitness tells us: “Lighter mornings and evenings have put a spring in our step. Getting outside to exercise becomes much easier and more attractive.”
There are many different ways of training outdoors. “Park benches, hills, trees and logs become part of your daily life,” she says. “I love the fact that as soon as everyone gets a bit muddy, our daily armour is left behind and social, emotional and mental barriers fall away. Some of the best friendships are made in the field.”
As well as the physical health benefits, exercising outside has another advantage, says Lara: “Outdoor scenery is much softer on the eye than the often aggressive and crowded urban gym environment. Changes of scenery reduce the feeling of monotony often associated with exercising indoors and natural environments have more diverse objects of interest to replenish attention and focus.”
Three to try:
By disguising HIIT (high-intensity interval training) techniques in traditional adrenalin-fuelled playground games such as dodgeball, British bulldog and frisbee, these mixed group sessions are suitable for every level of fitness. Plus there’s no right or wrong in Rabble games — if you’re running around and having a great time, then you’re doing it right!
The health benefits of swimming in natural waters have long been known. A one-off dunk creates intense vasodilation, pumping out muscle lactates and bringing fresh blood to the extremities, while a cold dip also releases a powerful endorphin shot and with it an intense feeling of wellbeing.
This is the civilian-friendly version of the Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls (BMF) workouts. While a military style of training is what sets this regime apart, they’ve taken away the scary, shouty parts and have ramped up the motivation, camaraderie and fun factors.