Britain’s gloomy winters mean that many people want to do nothing more than sit in front of the fire with a box of chocolates and a glass of wine. However, when the sun finally emerges in summertime, it inspires a different sentiment in us all, with warm weather making us want to head outdoors and get fit. Walking, jogging and cycling can also be really social activities – giving you a chance to catch up with friends while losing some of those winter pounds. However, after a winter of indulgence, it can be a bit of a daunting prospect and people may not know where to start, so here at Staysure, we have put together a few ideas of how you can get healthy this season.
There is no reason that exercise has to be intimidating, and walking is a great cardiovascular workout that people can tailor to their own fitness levels. Summer is a fantastic time to take up walking, when the weather is pleasant and the countryside is in full bloom. If it’s been a while since you exercised at all then why not start with a five minute walk every day, before building on this when you feel more confident. Recording all your times and distances can give you a goal to work towards as well as a sense of achievement when you get there.
When walking it is important to keep hydrated by drinking water before, during and after your hike. Other tips include breathing evenly and deeply throughout, maintaining a tall posture, keeping your toes in line with your knees and pulling your stomach in to help support your back.
Once walking no longer phases you, or if you feel you need more of a challenge, then jogging could be the next step. Before setting off on a jog, a warm up activity like brisk walking is important to ensure you don’t pull any muscles, and when you’re finished, five minutes of stretching will prevent cramp from occurring.
As a beginning, the best thing to do is alternate between jogging and brisk walking. As your body is yet to adapt to running, doing two minutes of jogging and five minutes of walking to begin with will help ease you into it. This can then be altered depending on how fit you are. After the first two or three weeks, if you feel ready for a bigger challenge then increase your mileage and intensity so the activity is still giving you a good work out.
Cycling is a fantastic summer activity and a lot of fun, with plenty of parks and gardens to pedal your way through. It is a low-impact activity which is particularly easy on the joints and therefore is a great option if you have arthritis (consider covering your arthritis-related costs if you’re heading for a cycling trip).
While arthritis makes exercise harder it is essential that people with the condition make an effort to keep fit, as a sedentary lifestyle is known to worsen symptoms.
4. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is another option for people looking for low-impact forms of exercise. The gentle martial arts exercise has origins in ancient China, and involves fluid and flowing circular movements known to help the practitioner relax, maintain mobility and improve their range of motion. Tai Chi classes can also be a great way to socialise and learn a new skill to be proud of.