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Summer Fitness: Outdoor Workouts and Activities to Keep You Active

As the days stretch longer and the Welsh weather transitions into its warmer, inviting phase, the pull towards the great outdoors becomes undeniable. Summer in Wales offers a unique canvas for fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike, providing an opportunity to merge the breathtaking landscapes of Wales—from its rugged coastlines and serene beaches to its verdant valleys and majestic mountains—with the challenge of physical activity. This season, it’s time to step out of the confines of the gym and into the embrace of Wales’ natural beauty to rejuvenate your fitness routine. Whether it’s running along the scenic trails that crisscross the country, practising yoga in the tranquillity of a secluded beach, or utilising resistance bands, dumbbells, and even the natural resistance of water in Wales’ lakes and rivers, there are boundless ways to stay active and connected with nature.

From the simplicity of bodyweight exercises in the heart of Snowdonia to structured workouts in the urban parks of Cardiff and Swansea, here are some exceptional strategies and activities to maintain your fitness whilst soaking up the Welsh summer. Embrace outdoor workouts to not only enhance your physical well-being but also to discover the therapeutic benefits of connecting with the natural world around you.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT outdoors is not just effective; it’s exhilarating. Utilise your local park or beach as your gym, alternating short bursts of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods. The natural terrain and fresh air enhance the intensity and enjoyment of your workout, pushing your limits while soaking in vitamin D.

Make sure you warm up well before starting your HIIT, and plan your sets and repetitions ahead of time. Writing your routine on a piece of paper is a simple but effective way to keep track.

Try this block:

  • 20 burpees
  • 15 push-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 10 sit-ups

Each time you do it, add a couple more repetitions for each exercise and then come back to the starting quantities before adding another block.

Dumbbells and Resistance Bands

Bring the versatility of the gym to your backyard with just a few pieces of equipment. Dumbbells can be expensive and tricky to find, but most dumbbell exercises can be performed with resistance bands.

Try this well-rounded routine and see how you like it:

  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Shoulder press
  • Weighted squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Side shoulder raises

The best thing is that dumbbells and resistance bands are portable, allowing you to take your workout wherever you go.

Thinking Outside the Box

If you have a bit more budget to play with, there are some great ways to enhance your garden and turn it into a workout haven. Perhaps you could fix a pull-up bar to a wall, or even install a frame if you have the space. A weight-sledge would be a great combination, allowing you to move weight more functionally.

A small swimming pool or hot tub is a great way to either perform some low-impact water resistance exercises or to soothe the muscles after HIIT, dumbbell workouts, and cardio. These are particularly good for those prone to injury or who have mobility or joint problems.

These unique methods not only diversify your fitness routine but also add an element of fun to your workouts, all from your garden or backyard.

Running: The Ultimate Outdoor Exercise

Why not go back to basics? After all, the basics certainly work. Running embodies the essence of outdoor fitness, offering unparalleled freedom and flexibility. Summer’s longer days provide ample opportunity to explore new paths, whether it’s the serene trails through local parks, the challenging routes up hills, or the calming jogs along the beach. Running not only improves cardiovascular health but also enhances mental well-being, offering a meditative escape as you sync your breath with your strides under the open sky.

To keep things interesting, vary your routes and incorporate intervals, sprint sessions, or distance challenges. Participating in local races or park runs can also add a social element to your routine, motivating you to push your limits while enjoying the social aspect of running as part of a group. Embrace the warmth of summer as a catalyst to take your running outdoors, where every step brings you closer to nature and your fitness goals.

Yoga: Embracing Flexibility and Balance  

Mobility, stretching, breathing, and meditation are at the core of any yoga workout. Embraced by many around the world, yoga provides more benefits than just the physical, and it is one of the most accessible forms of exercise out there.

The following routine is a great option for beginners, but only after a deep-breathing introduction:

  • Mountain Poe (Tadasana)
  • Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  • Plank Pose
  • Downward-Facing Dog (Virabhadrasana II)
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Whether on the beach, in a quiet park, or in your backyard, yoga practices can be both grounding and rejuvenating in a natural setting. 

Summer opens a world of possibilities for fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike, offering fresh air, natural beauty, and the space to move freely. By exploring high-intensity interval training, leveraging portable equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands, thinking creatively with items like hot tubs and pull-up frames, and embracing the calm of yoga, you can transform your fitness routine into an outdoor adventure. This season, let the outdoors be your gym and find joy while keeping active under the sun.