Summer is finally here and the warm weather opens up the possibility of getting out of the gym and taking your workout outside. The great thing about summer is that you can exercise virtually anywhere and for free! Exercising outdoors has been shown to boost energy, improve wellbeing and reduce stress even more than doing it inside. Other bonuses are that you will be stimulating vitamin D production and the natural daylight is good for your mood and regulating your sleep cycle. Here are some ideas, inspiration and tips on ways to keep fit this summer.
Summer Fitness meets Rooftop Yoga
One of the best things about yoga is that it can be done virtually anywhere. This summer, rooftops across London are hosting special rooftop yoga classes with amazing views from your matt. The Shard offers classes on Saturday mornings, Triyoga are doing classes on the roof of Selfridges on Tuesdays until September 1st and there are various other locations across the city. Some of the venues also have juice bars for a healthy post-exercise rehydration. Not in London? Try doing some yoga on the beach, in a field or your garden.
Summer fitness always includes swimming
The perfect summer exercise and way to cool down at the same time! Swimming gives you a full-body workout, using all muscles of the body. It is excellent for toning as the water provides a natural resistance, similar to lifting light weights at the gym, but with a more even distribution of the weight. It’s perfect for anyone with joint problems, as the water prevents the shock impact that you get from running and other types of exercise and there is a much lower chance of injury than with weight lifting or running. Being in the water is also soothing and good for easing backache and muscular aches and pains. It is also very relaxing and stimulates production of the feel-good chemicals endorphins. With all these amazing benefits, what are you waiting for? Dig out your cossie and dive in!
Walking, hiking and running
Walking, hiking and running are really enjoyable at this time of year, they don’t cost you anything and are a great way to see the countryside or explore your city. This kind of cardiovascular exercise is fantastic for burning calories and toning your legs and bottom at the same time. Other health benefits include lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and disease risk, keeping your brain healthy, improving mood and wellbeing and increasing your energy levels. The other advantage is that you can go at your own pace; if you are unfit, just start with a gentle walk and if you want to start running eventually you can build up to it. Starting with intervals of 1 minute jogging followed by 2 minutes walking is a good way to start of you are new to running. Using a pedometer or fitness tracker to track your progress is motivational. You are aiming to do 10 thousand steps per day, which burns around an extra 400 calories.
Summer is meant for Games
Whether its beach ball, tennis, Frisbee or even building sandcastles, do some activities that are fun this summer and get friends and family to join in. This way you are working out without it being an effort and having fun at the same time. Buddying up with a friend has the same effects, you hardly notice the 5K you have walked when you are gossiping on the way round! With the average weight gain on a 2-week holiday at a whopping 8lbs, why not buck the trend and book an active holiday this year. Whether it’s walking through the hills of Tuscany, a yoga retreat in Ibiza or learning to surf in Cornwall, an active holiday means you won’t spend the months after you return on a diet. These kind of holidays are also fun and a great way to meet people – perfect for single travellers.
Tips for Working out in Summer
- Stay hydrated – you will lose more water in the hot water and it is important to replace this, so drink up
- Get your diet right – weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise so if you are trying to drop pounds, you’ve got to get your nutrition right (see below).
- Having a cold shower before your workout may enhance your performance, according to a German study
- Wearing a heart rate monitor can be a useful way to monitor that you are not over-doing it in the heat
- Snack on fruit – they provide healthy, natural fruit sugars to fuel your workout plus lots of water to hydrate the body.
- Always wear sunscreen when exercising outdoors, to protect your skin from UV damage and premature ageing.
- Eat regularly – this is essential! Regular meals regulate your appetite and metabolism and reduce the chances of over-eating.
- Eat at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to fill you up
- Don’t avoid carbs! But choose the right ones – quinoa, rye bread, sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, pulses and buckwheat are the best.
- Switch your meal pattern so that you eat a little more at breakfast and lunch and a little less at dinner – you will find your appetite adjusts accordingly.
- Protein keeps you full so include some every meal, especially breakfast, which tends to be carb-based. Try eggs (proven to make you eat less over the day), yoghurt, and nuts and seeds on your porridge.