Yes, it’s already June and time to spend more time outdoors! Now we’ve shed most of our winter clothing, some of us are wondering why our bodies don’t look quite as we’d like. If this includes you, here are a few fitness and workout ideas to help you get into shape.
Exercising outdoors - in your garden, in the park, on the beach - brings many benefits. For starters, you'll exercise for longer, burn more calories, feel happier and less stressed, think more clearly and save money. Good enough for me!
1. Good posture takes 7lbs off you immediately
It’s better to stand than to sit, we’re told. So when you’re standing, stand with good posture. Obviously, you don’t actually lose half a stone but you certainly do look taller, slimmer, younger and more confident.
Good posture helps you breathe more easily and more deeply. It helps your relaxation and concentration. It improves your circulation and digestion. It helps you avoid back and neck pain.
So stand up straight and keep your tummy tucked in! Practise as much as you can, and always when you’re outdoors.
2. Stretch a little or do some yoga
Research shows that stretching or doing yoga outdoors heightens people’s awareness and boosts their confidence. It also boosts their energy levels. And it’s a great way of getting closer to nature.
Balance is overlooked by many people but having good balance means you move gracefully. It’s essential in preventing falls.
Practise standing on one leg. Have something nearby to hold onto if you’re not very sure at first, and focus hard on one point straight ahead of you. See if you can build up to 3 minutes or more on each leg.
4. Any movement is good, especially outdoors
Don’t spend long periods of time sitting. Your body jams up, your breathing becomes shallow and eventually you suffer. So stand up and go for a walk outdoors.
5. Sprint to solve your abs / tummy / core problem
It’s difficult to get a six pack or a very flat tummy without paying serious attention to your diet and some hard training.
Sprint intervals, though, can help and I recommend them. Sprints are good for fat burning, and doing intervals means your abs will be under frequent tension to keep yourself upright and stable.
Choose a suitable place to run, or somewhere to walk fast up steps or a hill. Go all out for 18 seconds and then return to the start. Repeat for 10-15 minutes, 3 times a week. You’ll see results.
6. Build muscle outdoors
Muscle is good, whether you’re a man or a woman. (Women won’t turn into Schwarzenegger, by the way, because we just don’t have the testosterone for it.)
Muscle makes your body work well. It’s much more compact than the equivalent weight of fat so you look good. And muscle burns more calories than fat, even when the body is at rest.
Find heavy stuff and move it around.
Carrying a small child around does wonders for upper body strength. Many parents say:
My pecs have never been as good!
Heavy shopping bags are also good. If you don’t have a small child or shopping to do, there are other options. Read on.
7. Compound exercises like squats and lunges are great for all-round fitness
Compound exercises engage more than one muscle group so you’re unlikely to overdevelop some muscles at the expense of others, and you’ll save time.
Squats are a fantastic compound exercise. They strengthen your legs, core, ligaments and stabiliser muscles. They improve your balance, flexibility and digestion. You can easily squat outdoors using your body weight or squat with dumbbells or a barbell, if you've got them.
Lunges are another very good compound exercise. Dumbbell lunges, for example, improve full-body strength, stability and balance.
Keep moving through the summer. Do something outdoors every day!
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