Top Ways to Keep Fit Outdoors

Shed pounds and stay healthy with a dose of outdoor activity

The gym isn’t for everyone, and you don’t necessarily need it if you have weight loss or staying healthy on your mind. The outdoors offers up some fantastic opportunities for staying fit at your own pace and living a healthier lifestyle, no matter what age you are.

You can’t turn a channel these days without hearing somebody on some programme tell you how unfit we British have become, exercise seems like a chore and the gym can be a daunting place for newcomers or those uncomfortable with how they look. Luckily the outdoors offers up some great alternative exercises, but above all, you can work at your own pace and see some fantastic sights along the way. In this blog we’ll give you 5 ways to keep fit without the costly gym membership.

Losing weight starts with getting your heart rate going and speeding up your metabolism. Walking is a great way to ease into exercise and can range from walking your dog, to trail walking, all the way up to hill walking. Your legs are some of the biggest muscles in your body, working these areas is a great place to start when you want to lose a few extra pounds.

This activity is ideal for all ages, with walking clubs being offered in most towns and cities across the country, so the excuse of having nobody to go with simply isn’t acceptable. Not every walk has to be to the top of Ben Nevis however, it’s said that 4,000 steps a day will benefit your health, 7,000 will help your fitness and 10,000 will help you lose weight. The numbers may look daunting, but buy yourself a pedometer and you’ll see just how many steps you didn’t know you took during your day.

What do I need to get started?

  • Walking Boots – Waterproof boots will get you through the winter months as well as the Summer ones. You can get these fitted properly in our stores.
  • Lightweight/Waterproof Trousers – Jeans are not ideal, they take too long to try and can rub. Waterproof overtrousers can keep a light shower from hindering your fun.
  • Waterproof Jacket – A thicker jacket in the Winter, but a lightweight packable jacket during the Summer is ideal.
  • Rucksack – Ideal for keeping Jackets, snacks, flasks, maps – whatever you need for your walk!

For more information why not browse our Beginners guide to hiking

Now we’re stepping up the pace a little, Running is a fantastic way to lose weight and keep the heart healthy. We’ve spoken in previous posts about the benefits of exercising in the sun. Much like walking, running offers a hobby that is cheap to start and can quickly become addictive.

A run can range from a ten minute run around your local park, all the way up to fell running and mountain marathons across the fabulous British country side. Looking to shed a few pounds before that next holiday? Running may be a great option.

What do I need to get started?

  • Running shoes – The most important item. These range in price from very cheap to extremely expensive nut more importantly than price, your ankles and feet will thank you for getting some expert advice. We have GAIT analysis machines in our stores to analyse your running style, which helps our staff recommend the right footwear for you.
  • Comfortable clothing – This could be tights, shorts or a light weight waterproof.
  • Water bottle – Don’t dehydrate! Find a water bottle or a hydration bladder you would be comfortable to run with.

Optional extras could include: Heart rate monitors, Pedometers to really keep track of how hard you are working.

Need more information? Check out our guides to running.

Climbing is an ideal way to build that upper body strength. If you have ever seen a climbers body it goes in the traditional ‘V’ shape that you associate with action stars. Climbing is becoming more and more popular in the UK because it’s easy to rent gear from your local climbing centre.

This exercise will give you great arm, grip and shoulder strength while building your muscles in a completely natural way. The gear may look a little daunting, but there are plenty of communities online that will offer out tips. Once you master the indoor climbing walls, why not try your luck on some of the rocks outdoors?

What do I need to get started?

  • A wall – This is really all you need if you are thinking of starting out with climbing. Start at your local climbing centre where gear rental is cheap and learn the basics of climbing. When your grip and strength improves then feel free to challenge yourself outdoors.

Not sure if you would like climbing? Many of our newer stores come with a free to try climbing wall, so why not pop in and catch the climbing bug?

More information is available in our climbing guide section

Cycling is another one of those ideal for the family activities, and easier to get the young ones involved with than a walk. Whether you cycle to work or cycle with your family along the many safe cycle routes of Britain, then you’re improving your health every time you get into the saddle.

If your children are younger, child seats, trailers and pull-alongs won’t break the bank and won’t allow you the excuse of a day in because you can’t find a babysitter. Cycling can burn around 450 calories per hour depending on your pace, it’s an ideal way to keep the heart pumping and to lose weight. Need some fresh inspiration? Pick up a cycle computer for your bike and on your journey to work, clock your time and try to beat it the day after.

What do I need to get started?

  • A bike – Obvious right? Buy a bike you are comfortable with, make sure it’s the right height for you.
  • Gel saddle – It’s an optional extra, we all get a sore behind when riding a bike for the first time in a while, these saddles can help but over time the pain will subside, honest.
  • Puncture repair kit – Like with your car, you never know when a flat tyre could occur, so always be prepared.
  • Water bottle – Stay hydrated, it’s dangerous to let your head get dizzy due to not getting enough fluids.

All our stores that offer cycling will also offer Bike servicing to make sure your bicycle is safe, consider it like an MOT on your car. It needs a check up every now and then.

For more information on getting started with Cycling, visit our Cycling guide.
So , there you have four ways to get healthier outdoors without breaking the bank. All of the above activities offer great social circles as well, so make a great way to meet new people if you don’t have anyone to get started with. If you have a smart phone, then check out some of the great apps available that allow you to keep track of your hard work, and challenge yourself further. It’s a great idea to set manageable goals, and before you know it, you could have turned your health around.

Why not try something new this weekend?