Mother Nature’s Gym

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One of most common things people come to me and say is that they have been working out in the gym ‘X’ many times for’ X’ many weeks and nothings changed and now they are bored.  Well it’s more than likely that your body is just as bored!

Everyone has a busy schedule these days and can’t afford to be in a gym 3-4 times a week but the gym isn’t the only answer.  Look around you, you have an all natural gym just waiting to be explored!

Running and walking as an exercise has exploded in recent years, especially around the summer months with the introduction of the fitness fashion world with the big names like Nike and Adidas at the forefront. If you were to stand on any high street in any city around the country I would go as far to say you could see at least one pair of brightly coloured running trainers and a pair of Lycra covered legs walking down the road.

Fitness and running has become part of the mainstream and we all wish we could have that athletic body but running for miles day after day isn’t the only to get it.  Everything starts with baby steps and fitness is no exception.

Living in Edinburgh I am lucky enough to be in a city where there is not only a type gym for everyone but am also blessed with picturesque hills, cycle routes and even an extinct volcano to use as a personal gym toy. When you find the four walls of the gym too confining you can simply take your exercise outside and apply a new addition to your workout plan.

By mixing your in-gym workout and healthy diet with the added dynamics of training outside you’ll give your body the ‘shock’ it may just have been craving for and you’ll be dropping those inches and trimming that waistline in no time.

Healthy living isn’t just about having those washboard abs, in fact it’s far from it.  No two people are the same when it comes to exercise – what might work for one may not necessarily work for another. While some will run for miles, the sheer thought of it can send shivers down the spine of others but have no fear, there are other ways.

The recommended amount of weekly physical activity can be very misleading depending on your sources. I have spent some time looking through articles, fitness magazines and published papers alike and they all run along a similar track – 30 minutes of ‘moderate-intensity’ aerobic activity 5 times a week totalling at 150 minutes a week. If this doesn’t mean much to you, the best description I have found taken from the NHS Choices website 

‘moderate-intensity activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk, but you can’t sing the words to a song.’

For some of us who train with a friend, this may be just the level of activity you were looking for.  So you can see that to get your weekly recommended amount of exercise it does not take hours of sweating in the gym – a fast paced walk through your local park or pushing the lawn mower is enough to reduce your chance of major illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and cancer by as much as 50%.

30 minutes may sound a lot to some but not much too others, and as already mentioned, no two people are the same when it comes to exercise, so saying 30 minutes is as accurate an answer and you will ever get but that’s long enough to get your heart rate up and remember, exercising isn’t only about the body its about the mind too. Working a full working week can be strenuous on both – just like the body, the mind needs some ‘extra curricular’ activity as well as rest too. It’s all about finding the balance that fits your needs and your lifestyle.

Taken at Dunsapie Loch

Taken at Dunsapie Loch

One way I give my mind the break it needs is to walk to one of my favourite spots in the city, sit back, clear my mind and just enjoy the view. That’s right, WALK! Taking a 30 minute brisk walk is enough to fill you daily quota, so don’t fret when you aren’t moving at 100mph, every little bit helps.

Taken at the Royal Observatory

Taken at the Royal Observatory

Living healthily isn’t just about the exercising; it’s about enjoying your life too, take some time to explore the area around you, being outside and enjoying some fresh air costs nothing.

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my favourite Edinburgh walking spots (with a little help from Instagram), some that may need a little more effort than others but all are manageable to reach and relax at within 30 minutes.

Exercise and working out is meant to be fun, don’t let it be all about the work.  If you are not enjoying what you are doing, change it and tailor it to the things you do love. So before you sign up to 3 classes a week at your local gym, take a second to look around and enjoy the nature around you, after all that’s what it is there for; make the most of it!

Good luck and happy adventuring!

Yours in health,

Iain

 

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