SHAPING UP: Six great reasons to keep fit outdoors

Have you noticed an increase in the amount of people exercising outdoors? Walking, running, swimming, cycling, boot camps, the’re all really popular forms of exercise at the moment.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:00 am
Outdoor exercise has many benefits for those looking to get their fitness back on track.
Outdoor exercise has many benefits for those looking to get their fitness back on track.

They rose in popularity when we were forced (kind of) into outdoor exercise during the first lockdown. Remember when we were only allowed out of the house for an hour to do our daily exercise? But, since then lots have people has stuck with the trend because they’ve experienced some of these health benefits that outdoor exercise brings:

1 REDUCED STRESSBeing physically active outdoors has been shown to reduce anger and depression and improve mood – more than exercising indoors. Not only do you get endorphins from moving your body, you also get exposure to vitamin D from being out in the sun, which is important for mood regulation.

2 IMPROVED SELF-ESTEEMAs little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve your self-esteem – which is really important given that almost 40% of women are put off from exercising because of confidence issues and a fear of judgement. Anywhere outside will have this positive impact, but interestingly, being near greenery or water enhances this effect.

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3 IMPROVED QUALITY OF SLEEPExercising helps you to get a better night’s sleep, but exercising outdoors can boost that effect because when you inhale the fresh air, you learn to regulate your breathing and your lungs’ airways are able to dilate maximally, consequently cleaning your lungs more effectively and improving the quality of your sleep.

4 INCREASE OF VITAMIN DWhen training outdoors, you can also enjoy the benefits of sunshine. Vitamin D that you get from the sun is especially important if you are overweight, as research suggests that people who are overweight are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.Fresh outdoor air and natural light also invigorates and provides more energy for the mind and body.

5 MORE DRIVEStudies have shown that physical activity outdoors lowers a person's blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, exercise outdoors feels less strenuous than similar exercise indoors, which, in turn, pushes you closer to your maximum performance.

6 MORE VARIATIONPerforming your usual workout outdoors can challenge your body in new ways. Including movements such as bodyweight exercises will enhance your coordination, balance and mobility. Most bodyweight exercises are multi-joint movements and therefore really effective for weight loss and improving strength.

Exercising outdoors doesn’t mean you have to do it alone, there’s plenty of groups out there to join. In fact, it can be great for your mental health because you’ll benefit from the social aspect too.

At East Coast Fitness, we offer a 7-Day Trial for £10. So, if you’d like to try outdoor exercise in a group this is a great way to start. We are located at Seaham Marina, where we have a fantastic fitness venue with beautiful views of our coastline and plenty of outdoor space.

If you’d like to come along for a 7 Day Trial go to www.eastcoast-fitness.com/trial

Almond Butter Pancakes

SERVES: 3

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

CALORIES PER PORTION: 375

INGREDIENTS

150g wholewheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

300ml almond milk

100g almond butter

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by mixing together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the almond milk, almond butter and honey. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk to combine.

Bring a large frying pan to medium heat and melt coconut oil.

Pour the mixture into the frying pan and cook for about four minutes or until you see bubbles appearing. Flip and cook for another minute on the other side.

Keep cooked pancakes warm while you prepare the rest. Serve with a little maple syrup, optional.

BODYWEIGHT HIIT WORKOUT THAT YOU CAN DO ANYWHERE

Here’s a quick workout you can do anywhere, without equipment. It’s ideal if you’re travelling or you don’t have time to go to the gym. The workout targets the lower body, upper body and core within just 3 exercises. Complete all of the reps as quickly as you can, but with good form.

Before you start the workout go to the East Coast Fitness Facebook Page to watch the short demo video.21 SQUAT JUMPS

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