As we become a nation of outdoor exercisers, here are a few things to try to get you more active on your outdoor adventures while running or walking.
What are the Benefits of Outdoor Running and Walking?
- Getting out of the house, whatever the weather, is always a good mood booster. It is proven to reduce stress, tension and depression.
- Health benefits of outdoor running or walking include weight loss, bone strength, it reduces blood pressure, and reduces body fat.
- Outdoor running or walking is a good opportunity to get your headphones on and listen to your favourite tunes or podcast, which can boost your mood.
- 30 minutes of exercises a day is advised, but this can be smaller blocks of 10 minutes, so don’t worry if you’re not up to 30 minutes continuous exercise just yet, you can still reap the benefits.
- Walking is a great exercise to get all the family involved in and is suitable for all levels of fitness.
- Competitive or not, you can chase best times, new distances or you can just enjoy being active outside.
- At normal walking pace you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation without getting out of breath.
- Brisk walking means you would be slightly out of breath if trying to have a conversation.
- Hills are your friends – attack the hills; try and power walk up hills and return to normal pace on the way down. This will increase your heart rate and give your legs a good workout.
- Variety – try and vary your routes so your body doesn’t get used to the same challenge each day.
- Speed – try varying your walking speed. This could be tracked by a fitness app/watch. Try timing 30 seconds fast and 60 seconds normal pace or by using surrounding landmarks like lampposts/parked cars etc
- Walking games – Great to do if you are out with the family to add some variety. Snake -Walk in a line at a normal pace and the person at the front of the line shouts go, the person at the back walks or runs to the front and repeats.
- Variety – there are so many ways to make running more interesting than just plodding along at the same speed each day. Try hill runs, sprint work or interval runs. These will all improve your fitness and help knock seconds off your run times.
- Track it – where possible track your distance or pre plan your route so you know how far you have gone. Alternatively, if you can’t track your distance try setting times for each run you are doing so you can monitor progress.
- Build it up – you don’t have to be able to smash out 10k the first time you go running. Start off with short bursts of running mixed with walking. Try 30 seconds running, 60 seconds walking and gradually build up to 45 seconds running and 60 seconds walking.
- Running games – great fun to do with the family. Try relay races either around the park or there and back on the footpaths, change form running to hopping or jumping.