The great outdoors

Make the most of the summer with these outdoor exercise tips from Claire Moore

With the closure of gyms back in March, many of us have ventured outside and found new ways to exercise and get moving.

Training outdoors provides many benefits for your body, but it is also the perfect way to clear your head and reconnect with nature while having a well-earned break from all things digital. Getting outside in the fresh air is a great mood-booster and can help combat stress and anxiety, all while getting a good dose of vitamin D. And all for free!

Whatever your thing – hiking in the hills, jogging on the beach or bootcamp-ing in the park – be sure to follow a few simple tips in order to get the most out of your outdoor workout while keeping safe and injury-free.

Get the right gear

Outdoor training requires very different equipment to inside exercise. The right footwear is essential, needs to fit well and be made for outdoor terrain. Lug soles have deeper indentations that improve your stability and traction on rocks and other uneven surfaces. You may also want to think about added ankle support.

Layering up is the best way to prepare for varying weather. Avoid cotton as it does not dry as quickly, which can become very uncomfortable. Invest in clothing made from synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene which is super-breathable and designed to pull sweat away from the skin.

Watch the weather

At this time of year you will want to think carefully about the time of day you work out. Try to avoid midday, which can be the hottest time; early morning or evening workouts can provide a more manageable climate. Sun cream is essential; lather up and stay high on the SPF and of course make sure you stay hydrated. The hotter the temperatures, the more you sweat, so try to avoid caffeine before going out and keep drinking water throughout the whole day.

Buddy up

Exercising is so much more fun with a friend. It helps to keep you focused and accountable. After months of lockdown, reconnecting with friends and likeminded people can provide a huge boost to your happiness levels. Outdoor group exercise sessions are now restarting which are great for a positive atmosphere and a real push.

Keep it varied

Repeating the same workout again and again means it won’t be long before you lose interest, your body will get bored and you’ll reach a frustrating plateau. Training outdoors is brilliant for providing different terrain, different weather and different locations. Changes to a workout help to challenge your body in a new way, encouraging it to adapt and progress. Mix it up and where possible make the most of the woods, beaches, hills and parks.

Plan, track, celebrate

You can’t beat a woman with a plan! To really get the most out of any exercise routine you need to have goals and structure. What is your long-term target? Once clear, work backwards and create a weekly routine that will push you and continually take you closer to your goals. Tracking your progress each week will help you see how you are doing, and this is the key to motivation. When you start to see the change in your times and distance you will enjoy a well-earned boost and get the urge to keep going.

Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate. Many of us are a little too good at berating ourselves over what we still haven’t achieved, so taking the time to realise how far you have come and the progress you have made is vital. Adding in small rewards with each target ticked off is a great morale boost and will keep you going even when summer comes to an end.

Claire Moore is a personal trainer and founder of the award-winning Believe & Achieve UK Women’s Gym in Sheffield. She is passionate about helping women develop a greater understanding of health and fitness and take ownership of their choices and develop a healthy lifestyle instead of the usual quick-fix. To find out more, visit www.believeachieveuk.com or follow on Instagram or Facebook

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