Although the weather is far from being unbearably hot, it's true that good weather is just around the corner so we should start thinking about how to exercise in the heat. But even if the good people of the UK won't experience a full-on heatwave, you can make the most of the good weather (and top up your vitamin D level) by working out outside. Here are three workouts to try!
If you haven't got a specific fitness goal in mind, you can just go for walk (brisk walk, even) or hop on your ebike and cruise around town – both are an excellent option to get in some low-impact exercise. However, for those who need something a bit more specific, we recommend giving one of the below workouts a try.
Best outdoor workout for losing weight: Running HIIT
In-depth: How to turn your run into a workout
There are many benefits to HIIT training. It burns a ton of fat in the shortest amount of time possible, boosts metabolism and makes you feel pleasantly exhausted, which can help you sleep better. It can also get rid of belly fat.
You can use any HIIT workout gear, but you'll only need a pair of running shoes for this workout. Or trail running shoes if you want to run off-road, although if that's the case, avoid more technical trails for this particular workout.
Start with a warm-up run at a comfortable pace. This should be around 1-2 km for those with some running experience. Beginners should aim for the 1 km mark at a leisurely pace.
As soon as you tick over into the 3km mark (2km mark for inexperienced runners), begin this interval running phase.
Do 5 x 30-second sprint/30-second jog – aim to run flat out for 20-30 seconds, with a brief 30-second cool down jog or jog-on-the-spot in between. Repeat this five times before embarking on the return leg of your normal run.
Best outdoor workout for building muscle: Suspension training
Suspension trainers were made for park workouts. You can use any old branch or playground object to fix the trainer and have a full-body workout. You can combine push and pull exercises and build muscle almost as easily as if you were working out with dumbbells and barbells.
Try this workout for size:
- TRX squats (8-12 reps)
- TRX inverted rows (8-12 reps)
- TRX push-up (8-12 reps)
- TRX mountain climbers (8-12 reps)
- Repeat four to five times
Leave no rest between exercises and sets, just go for it! If it gets a bit too intense, rest for 30 seconds at the end of the set but try to keep the pace up and go go go until you're finished with the workout.
You can play around with intensity by changing the angle of attack. For example, push-ups and inverted rows will become more challenging the more horizontal your body is. Try the first set at a 45-degree angle and really for it from the second set onwards.
Best outdoor workout for improving mobility: Wild water swimming
Swimming is a whole-body experience, and it's especially good for shoulder mobility (freestyle swimming, mainly). Wild water swimming has the added benefit of being close to nature, not to mention, large bodies of open water tend to be colder, which is not a bad thing when the weather is hot.
Speaking of chilly water: cold exposure is having a moment right now. A research paper suggests it can, in healthy individuals, "increase energy expenditure and whole-body glucose and fatty acid utilisation. Repeated exposures can lower fasting glucose and insulin levels and improve dietary fatty acid handling, even in healthy individuals."
Another paper concludes that "Regular swimming training in cold water seems to positively affect various systems such as the cardiovascular system, endocrine system, immune system and the psyche."
However, both papers emphasise that cold exposure is a reasonably unexplored area, and it's best to do it in a controlled environment, so we wouldn't recommend going crazy and jumping in near-freezing water. Shallow cold water might be okay, but it's not the worst idea to check in with a health professional before you immerse yourself in cold water. If you're worried about getting too cold, you could choose to don one of the best wetsuits to help prevent your core temperature dropping too much. Head to our wild swimming beginner's guide for more tips before taking the plunge.