Even if you aren’t into sport and don’t hit the gym regularly, keeping active is a great way to relax, de-stress and stay fit and what better time of year than now to get going? Not everyone is after the perfect beach bod but a more active lifestyle can improve your quality of sleep, regulate your appetite and lift your mood. Here are some ideas to get you started, not a fun run in sight!*:
1 – walk everywhere, or as much as possible.
Can you walk to work? Or at least part of the way? Walking is the best low impact exercise out there and is completely free! You don’t need a step counter, just walk for at least 20 minutes per day and you will notice a difference in your posture and muscle tone – especially if you are desk bound during the week. Take advantage of the longer daylight hours and go for a walk in the morning before work or in the evening after dinner. Do you have friends who live nearby? Get them in on the act too, it is a great way to catch up and if you’re going to meet somebody you are less likely to flake out and not go. Do you live near a park or in the countryside? Invest in some Nordic walking poles to get your upper body working too and you will notice the benefits.
2 – Join a group
Is there are local walking or cycling club where you are? If not, why not set one up? Try spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter to see if anyone wants to join, you might be surprised at the response you get!
3 – Learn something new
Nothing gives you a confidence boost like learning something new. Do you live near a lake or river, or by the coast? Then try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding by contacting your local watersports centre. Ok not strictly free but working your way to a qualification is a great way to take your mind off work, get fit and meet new people.
4 – Hit the garden
Try giving your garden a facelift or offer your services to an elderly or infirm relative who can’t keep up with theirs. Maybe there is a community garden or allotment near you where you can help out. Gardening is surprisingly good exercise and gives you a real sense of accomplishment.
5 – Volunteer
Expanding on the previous point, are there any local charities or organisations that could do with a hand? If you have a handful of hours spare during the week then have a look around to see who you can help out. Does somebody need their dog walking or lawn mowing? Perhaps there is an environmental group who needs an extra pair of hands.
6 – Play!
If you have children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, friends with children, then set up a games day in the local park, frisbee, rounders, 5 a side football, tug of war… anything active so everyone puts down their tablets and smartphones and runs around for a bit – it will do all concerned the world of good!
7 – Skip
Do you remember skipping in school? Have you done it lately? It’s haaard, much harder than it seemed when you were little! Buy a rope online and get started – you will get out of breath straight away and you will notice that your coordination is a little off to start with, but there are all sorts of you tube tutorials to mix things up and get fit surprisingly quickly. This really gets the heart racing, even just 5 minutes a day will make a difference, so no excuses!
8 – Dance
Find a local class and go! There are classes in everything from line dancing, to Latin American and lindy hopping. So much fun, very good exercise and if you don’t have someone to go with you can find a partner there.
9 – You tube fitness
One for a rainy day. There are so many online fitness tutorials to choose from that you can find something that suits your pace and fitness level. Try yoga, pilates or HIIT (high intensity interval training). The quality varies but there are some good ones to look out for (try FitnessBlender.com) and the best part is they are FREE. Alternatively check out classes at your local gym, where you have an instructor present to correct your form.
10 – Stay local
Find your local climbing wall, mini golf course, archery centre, whatever you have in your local area and check it out. No need to travel far, no need to buy expensive equipment, just give it a go and see if you like it.
So there you have it, some good suggestions to get out and about this summer. If you are looking for an active holiday in Europe you can find some suggestions here that don’t cost the earth. Any suggestions/contributions are always welcome – if you have an activity/group you would like to plug drop us a line and we will give you a mention on social media.
*not that there’s anything wrong with that of course.