Let's go outside! Top summer workouts for a vitamin D boost
The sun is shining! Well, it is here in London and we hope it is in your part of the world too, wherever you are! When it's hot outside, it's tempting to take your workout outdoors and soak up some sun - which is great for your body as it boosts vitamin D levels, for stronger bones and a happier mood. Plus, all that sunshine - what's not to love? We've got our pick of the top summer workouts for you to head outdoors for over the next few months, so leave your treadmill training at the gym for rainy days and get outside!
Riding your bike is a great way to get some sunshine and it's an activity that's suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, from beginners to the more advanced. It's also the perfect family activity for those holiday weekends. Cycling helps you to build up strength in your leg muscles - those hamstrings and glutes will get a decent workout and you'll notice results in the form of more toned calves and thighs after just a few sessions. Whether you're into mountain biking or prefer a more sedate pace, cycling is an excellent form of exercise that can also work your core, get your heart rate up and those endorphins flowing. Don't forget to pack a water bottle as cycling in the sun can be thirsty work!
Come rain, come shine, but especially when it's sunny, we love to run - we're sure you do too! After a hard day sitting at your desk at the office, taking some time out to go for a run means you'll not only benefit from some 'me' time to clear your head, you'll also get a great workout to boot! Running is an excellent form of cardio which works your entire body, particularly your legs and core. Make sure you have the right shoes and start slowly - of course you always need to warmup and stretch those muscles thoroughly before you start, to prevent injury.
Running outside can be tough on your legs, knees and ankles as you're impacting solid, often uneven ground. Take the time to find suitable shoes for outdoor running and replace them regularly as they will wear out. If you're looking for running tips, running apps or even walking workouts (walking can be just as good a workout as running) then check out some of our other posts!
Fitness bootcamps run up and down the country and they can be an excellent way to motivate yourself if you sometimes find yourself being a bit lazy when it comes to exercising. If the idea of lying in the park with an ice cream appeals to you more than circuit training, squats and push-ups, you might want to sign yourself up for a fitness bootcamp in a park near you. Don't be daunted at the idea of military-style instructors barking orders at you; most bootcamps are designed to give you a gentle push towards getting fitter, quickly. So whilst you will work hard and should see fast results when it comes to losing weight and toning up, you won't be yelled at constantly or pushed way beyond your limits. On sunny days, fitness bootcamps are a great way to workout with friends or make new fitness buddies in your area, and you'll find they are becoming increasingly popular across the UK.
Cool off with a dip in the pool on holiday and get a great workout to boot with some swimming. Whichever stroke you choose, swimming gives you a total body workout and targets most of your major muscle groups, which means it may be the only exercise you need to do on your summer holiday this year! Whether you're swimming in the sea or in a pool, don't forget to re-apply SPF regularly as sunshine reflecting off the water can cause sunburn if you're not protected - and you want to protect your skin against ageing. We recommend butterfly stroke for a full body workout that will strengthen your arms and shoulders!
Yes, believe it or not, walking the dog can be a good workout. If you walk at a good pace, that is. Power walking or even jogging with your dog is the ideal way to soak up the sun, and you're more likely to commit to it - if he needs to go out, you're going to get a workout! On days where you don't have time for a longer workout or on your rest days between workouts, half an hour to 40 minutes of dog walking is the ideal way to keep active and ensure you stay fit.
Beach volleyball, netball, basketball - even a game of rounders at the park with friends are all excellent choices when it comes to staying active this summer. It's recommended we all get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, so squeezing in some ball games instead of lazing around at the park or on the beach ups your exercise quota and ensures you're boosting your heart rate and getting those endorphins flowing. Plus, all that running around in the sun gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a fruit smoothie or even an ice cream afterwards!