Want to know the best thing about this time of year? Finally being able to enjoy the great outdoors – properly! Thankfully it is really feeling like it’s summer now, but of course, the majority of the UK are complaining about melting in the heat! Lack of air-con, horrendous hay-fever or, like me, multiple bug bites! But seriously that all aside, you can’t deny that it is well overdue for a bit of good weather here in the UK. When we reach this point of the year I always do my training outside, but admittedly as it has been heating up to 27 degrees, I have been up and out early to go training, otherwise I would have been far to hot to do anything worth while. I don’t do it just because I enjoy it, I do it for a number of health benefits too…
Instead of doing a gym workout, or even hitting the pool, I’ve swapped it all. I am now doing those long HIIT sessions outside, swapping the pool for the lake, missing those spin classes for actual riding and of course, ignoring anything to do with a treadmill and hitting the trails.
I’m a lucky girl, I live within a 15 minute cycle distance to town and a 15 minute cycle distance to the countryside. I seriously have a perfect balance to both, so I would be stupid not to embrace my surroundings. Even if I had to travel a distance to get to the countryside, I still would because when you are in it, it’s totally worth the effort. Being outdoors in the fresh air is good for you on so many levels, such as vitamin D from the sun (obviously once we use sunscreen), it’s relaxing so you feel less stressed and calmer, but often activities we do outdoors give us a firmer focus on life. According to studies, spending 20 minutes outdoors gives your brain an energy boost, similar to the reaction you get from having that cup of morning coffee. Impressive – right?! It also helps a number of other things such as SAD syndrome, something I’ve suffered with in the past. So why don’t we do more of it? Weather perhaps? No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
But the best thing for me, (especially whilst exercising outdoors) is that I sort of forget I’m doing it. I might go for a bike ride and in spin I’d be watching the clock, whereas outside I could be climbing hills and going for hours without noticing, but still working just as hard. If you don’t even want to be stupidly active just going for a dog walk, or perhaps a jog is still good as it’ll put you in your fat burn zone as well. You would still get all the other well-being benefits I mentioned as well.
I personally can’t get enough of this weather, so I have been testing out some outdoor specific clothing from my friends at Columbia. All I can say is those trail Caldorado trainers are like gloves for your feet! They are by far the best trail trainers I’ve had in a long time, plus they doubled up for my mountain biking with their fantastic grip. In fact the top and the trainers are actually designed for trail running, but they worked for my 10 mile ride, (I was cycle aid station to my husband who was running). Can’t wait to really test them for trail running – watch this space!
I got more into exercising outdoors around a year ago, I had a slight dip in mood so forced myself to go for a run over the fields near where I live, and immediately I felt better. I have since been doing it all the more and I can’t get enough! I’ve been mainly enjoying getting back out on my mountain bike and indulging in the trails around the Leicestershire Outwoods.
Just remember you don’t have to live in the countryside to get the most out of the great outdoors, you can find some great roads to run and cycle on, if you go super early like me, it can be an amazing experience seeing somewhere that is normally busy, suddenly still and peaceful. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather and the wonderful outdoors.