06 Jan How to keep fit in the countryside
The New Year inspires lots of us to make positive changes in our lives. A new or improved exercise regime is a popular resolution and so is the plan to spend more time outside connecting with nature.
If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. And the good news is that the great outdoors is a fantastic place to smash those fitness goals without smashing the bank account. Running and cycling are both fantastic forms of outdoor exercise, but did you know that our parks and countryside offer all sorts of training ‘equipment’ too?
We asked a professional fitness instructor to create an exercise routine that shows how to use these free spaces for a workout. Ranger Amanda volunteered to join me in putting it to the test at Royal Victoria Country Park near Southampton. We started with 3 x 10 reps per circuit, but everyone is unique so please tailor exercise to meet your needs. Remember: you can always increase the amount as your fitness improves.
Step Ups (10 reps on each leg)
Use a bench or sturdy log/tree stump. Simply step up and down. To make it harder, drive your other knee upwards as you step up (as Amanda is demonstrating in the picture).
Mountain Climbers (10 reps on each leg)
Use a bench or anything strong that’s reasonably low to the ground. Get into a press up position and lift your knees up toward your chest one after the other. Try to keep your hips level and squeeze your abs as you lift your knee to your chest. To make it harder, do it on the ground.
Triceps Dips (10 reps)
Use a bench, log or low wall. Place your hands behind you then raise and lower yourself so your elbows are at a 90 degree angle (make sure to keep your elbows tucked in to your torso as you lower down), return to your starting position (repeat 10 times). For an easier version bend your knees, to make it harder put your legs out straight.
Press-Ups (10 reps)
Use a gate, fence or sturdy log. Get into a press-up position then lower yourself slowly down and up. The lower the equipment the harder this is.
Wall-Sit (with Ball Squeezes) (10 reps of 10 seconds or squeezes)
Use a tree, fence or wall. Lean against it and slide your body down until your legs are bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds or squeeze the ball 10 times then stand up.
Regular exercise is proven to help control weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, and strengthen bones and muscles. But if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised and you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.