Summer’s here – it’s time to get outside! Phoebe Doyle suggests five activities that will boost your body and see your soul soar.
Summer’s here – it’s time to get outside! Phoebe Doyle suggests five activities that will boost your body and see your soul soar.When the summer sun is calling your name what do you do? Sit in the garden, Pimms at the ready? Take the dog for a stroll? Instead, why not try something more adventurous? Here’s five of the hottest summer-time activities to try:
In recent times surfing has transformed from a pursuit favoured by a relative few thrill-seekers to a popular pastime and holiday activity. “Surfing draws on lots of good building blocks for the skills we use as adults,” comments surf instructor George Stoy (georgessurfschool.com). “It can help build confidence that people take with them into all areas of their lives.” The commotion around surfing has continued to grow in spite of tough financial times, as George explains: “Surfing, in comparison to certain other sports, is inexpensive. Once you have a board and a wetsuit, you’re good to go”.
Invest in good teaching: There’s been an influx of surf schools opening up in the UK, but the standard of teaching varies. George advises: “Look for a recommended school and find out as much about the people who you will be paying to teach you as possible.”
Good for the body: Surfing has you using almost every muscle in your body so it’s great for toning and shaping. As there’s a lot of swimming involved your heart and lungs will be getting a workout too.
Great for the soul: It’s truly an activity when you’re in nature’s hands and will help you tune in to your environment.
Want to know more? Go to surf-uk.org for information on destinations.
“Running is fantastic exercise because it’s cardiovascular, so boosts your heart/lung fitness; fat-burning, so it helps you lose weight; and builds muscular strength, especially in the legs,” says wellbeing coach Dan Roberts (danroberts.com). Furthermore it’ll boost your spirit as cardiovascular exercise like running has been proven to be just as effective as antidepressants for tackling mild to moderate depression. “It’s so good for you that many GPs now ‘prescribe’ exercise for their patients,” says Dan. “Studies have shown that taking exercise somewhere green and beautiful, like the park or countryside, has a powerful impact on stress, anxiety or depression.”
Go off road. Evolution has designed the human body to run – but not on hard surfaces; pavements or park paths jolt and jar your joints, leading to repetitive-strain injuries.
Good for the body: Try boosting your cardiovascular health when you run with beetroot, which is rich in heartboosting nitrate. We love Beet It stamina shots, £1.85, from Holland & Barrett.
Great for the soul: Running by yourself is sometimes better, as you can choose when to go to suit your mood. Want to know more? Visit goodrunguide.co.uk
From the time we hear the Wimbledon music onwards, the summer has us heading for our local courts in droves. Fitness expert Ronnie Burgess (happyexercising.co.uk) explains the appeal: “For me, tennis is the ultimate outdoor summer activity because it provides you with a total body workout by strengthening your arms, back, abs, bottom and legs. Furthermore it’s a great cardiovascular workout, improves your coordination, balance, speed and competitiveness.” In tennis you’re always playing with at least one other person and the commitment to an activity with someone else can make you more likely to stick with it. Says Ronnie: “Exercising with a friend is good fun, provides a welcome distraction, and the competition you have with them is a sure-fire way to give you that extra edge to push yourself that little bit harder. You’re also less likely to ditch the appointment too as you won’t want to let them down.”
Don’t spend a fortune: Ronnie says playing tennis doesn’t have to be a rich man’s (or woman’s!) game: “To begin your tennis life, you can dust off that racket that you played with five years ago and give it a glorious return to the court! Alternatively, go to a sports shop and ask the assistant for their knowledge, but there’s no need to pay your weekly wage – start cheap and simple.”
Good for the body: Tennis is particularly great for the upper body as you’re using your arms and the twists and turns will help to shape your waist.
Great for the soul: In tennis you have to be totally alert at all times. This should help boost concentration skills; crucial assets that we can transport into all aspects of our lives.
Want to know more? Visit racketeer.freeonline.co.uk for a list of all the tennis clubs across the UK and Ireland.
Recent advances in wetsuit technology combined with a desire to get back to nature have encouraged more and more of us to head outdoors for our swim. Kelly Morshead of the Outdoor Swimming Society says: “People like the freedom; no walls, no lanes and no chlorine (as well as no traffic/lane rage of other swimmers!) The feeling of liberty is one that can’t be replicated in a pool. In summer the water is warmer, and therefore swimming is more comfortable and fun. On some days you don’t need to wear a wetsuit, which adds to the sense of freedom.”
Be secure and safe: Unfortunately tragic accidents happen in the water each year, so being serious about safety precautions is a must. “Always make sure you swim with someone else,” Kelly advises, “or have someone who is keeping an eye on you when you swim in open water (either on shore or in a kayak/boat/canoe). Be careful not to swim too far out for you to swim back; the water can be exhausting so err on the side of caution.”
Good for the body: Swimming is soft on the joints: as the water is supporting you at all times, you’re therefore much less likely to get an injury. Swimming outdoors has a further advantage because in colder temperatures you burn calories faster!
Great for the soul: Swimming can offer great thinking time. When swimming outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle, you can contemplate, reflect and make plans.
Want to know more? Visit outdoorswimmingsociety.com
PSST! Want to shape up fast and get a glow before you go on holiday? Check yourself in to a detox retreat at the renowned Simply Healing in West Sussex. For more information go to simplyhealingcentre.com
Yoga remains a perfect remedy for curing the stressed-out and overworked. In the summertime enthusiasts get the extra benefit of taking it outside. “It helps engage your senses with the smells and sounds of nature,” says yoga teacher Christiane Kerr. “The word yoga means union and outdoor practice reinforces our connection to our environment and the universe. Practising outdoors gives you a different perspective to practising in a studio or in your home. You are removed from your regular setting and this can help you leave everyday concerns at home and go deeper into yourself.”
Find the perfect spot: Find somewhere with level ground that is safe, secluded and comfortable. Christiane adds: “You may want to have two mats for comfort and if you are practising on your own ensure that the spot is not so isolated that it will make you feel vulnerable.”
Good for the body: Yoga gives increased flexibility and control and in the summertime your joints should be feeling at their best as they love the heat!
Great for the soul: The meditative aspect of yoga can be enhanced by the summer sunlight which instantly boosts mood. Want to know more? Visit yogauk.com for more information.
If you’re heading outside to be active in the sun, stick to the following ground rules, provided by personal trainer Gavin Walsh (gavinwalsh.co.uk)
• During a jogging or running session we can sweat anywhere between 0.5 and 1.5 litres. With higher temperatures this can be more, so it is easy to see why people become dehydrated quickly in the summer months. Drink water before, during and after a session.
• Go steady| When first starting to exercise outdoors be mindful of your body’s reactions; if you feel exhausted or breathless – stop. Never overdo it, build up the intensity gradually.
Time it right
Make the most of the light, and go out early or late; exercise first thing in the morning or later in the day to avoid temperatures at their highest.
Make sure your feet get a work out too with Akamuti’s 100 per cent natural moisturiser (£7.50 from akamuti.co.uk) which contains nutritious oils to moisturise and smooth hard skin.
Make sure you protect yourself outdoors with these all-natural sunscreens
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