Spring is (finally) approaching, but don't wait to dust off your trainers and hit the park for an outdoor fitness session. Here are five reasons why it's great to exercise outside - even when the weather's bad.
We spoke to celebrity trainer Scott Laidler, who works with the amazing Kate Hudson on her Fabletics sportswear brand, to find out why it’s a great idea to exercise outside, even in cold weather.
1. The feelgood factor
‘Training outside feels great. The fresh air makes us feel happier and the natural setting is great for boosting your mood. That’s not to say that you need to take your whole routine outside, but one run or circuit per week can make a huge difference to your motivation, mood and fitness.’
2. The terrain
‘There are workouts you can do outside, such as cross country running, that you couldn’t possibly replicate with fitness equipment. Sure, you could get a nice virtual reality forest scene as a backdrop in the gym, but navigating unpredictable terrain means that your body will have to work harder, improving your core stability and working areas of your muscles that even equipment targeting the same areas can’t. The unpredictable nature of the terrain means it’s a brilliant workout you’ll only ever get in the great outdoors.’
3. The ease
‘Chances are you have an open space closer to your house than a gym. Plus, it’s always open, you never have to wait for space, and there are no travel issues that could get in the way. You can just walk there. This means that working out outside is probably the best way to guarantee a great workout actually gets completed once it’s scheduled, as nothing can really get in the way.’
4. The challenge
‘Deliberately putting ourselves through experiences that are out of our comfort zone makes us stronger as people and forces us to make progress. Push yourself to train outside when it’s cold, dark and unpleasant. You may find that dropping the comfortable gym setting every now and then in favour of something less appealing gives you a sense of achievement in itself.’
5. The cost
‘Remember that every park in the country is like a fully equipped gym if you are able to get creative with your workouts. You can use the vast space for runs and sprint training, and park benches and playground equipment to create circuits and resistance based workouts (typically using your own bodyweight). There is no need to have an outgoing monthly expense by way of gym fees; you really do have everything you need available to you for free.’