Summer workouts!

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Make the most of the brighter, longer days and give your usual workout an outdoor makeover

The great outdoors is officially good for you! Research by the University of Essex revealed that exercising in nature lifts your mood and boosts your self-esteem, with scientists even suggesting that exercising in the fresh air could be ‘life changing’. Well, what better excuse to give the gym a miss for a month or two and get out there to see what nature has to offer? Switch up your usual routine for our fun-filled outdoorsy options…

If you love acrobatics…
Try outdoor trapeze

The lowdown: If learning new things and throwing your body in different directions is your idea of fun, try flying trapeze. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro: classes are available for beginners and you don’t have to be super strong or a daredevil to have a go.

Why do it: It’s a great way to refresh your fitness routine, learn a new and exciting skill, and wake up that grey matter.

Where: Gorilla Circus (gorillacircus.com) gives outdoor lessons in Regent’s Park, London, and Unique Outdoors (uniqueoutdoors.co.uk) in Reading, Berkshire, also offers a trapeze experience.

If you love the treadmill…
Try pounding the pavements at night

The lowdown: Night runs are booming in popularity! Maybe because it means no one can see your red face or maybe because it’s a good excuse to don some in-your-face-neons and grab the glowsticks. Whatever your reasoning, if you fancy a running event with a difference, heading into the darkness could be the way forward. Plus lots of night-time events offer fantastic after parties.

Why do it: It’ll give you a real motivational boost and is great fun!

Where: Check out the Electric Run (electricrun.co.uk) and Nike’s We Own The Night Run (nike.com).

If you love yoga…
Try paddleboard yoga

The lowdown: Paddleboard yoga or stand -up paddleboard (SUP) yoga is a huge hit across the pond and its popularity is growing in good ol’ Blighty, too. Stand-up paddleboarding is pretty much what it says on the tin – you stand up on a board and use a paddle to power and steer yourself. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so much. This, in itself, is a full-body workout and a great way to work up a sweat. But, add in a few downward dogs, warriors and tree poses, and this water-based sport is propelled to another level. It’s a great way to bring some fun to your yoga practice and offers a totally different experience to a studio-based class.

Why do it: It’s a fun, but effective, way to get fit and drifting on the open water is a fab way to chillax and enjoy the oudoors.

Where: Check out pureyogazone.com, lagoon.co.uk and supcornwall.co.uk for UK-based options.

If you love step classes…
Go for a hike

The lowdown: Walking is an amazing (and inexpensive) way to embrace the great outdoors during the summer months, but why not up the ante that little bit further and take part in a more substantial hike? Celebs including Liv Tyler, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon and Amanda Seyfried have all been spotted getting their hike on in the hills. Hiking is leaving its stuffier roots behind and welcoming a new breed of adventurer – glamorous and go-getting. Plus it’s a really social activity as you can have a good chat along the way – grab your mates, whip up a healthy picnic and get out there!

Why do it: It’s a great cardio workout and you can burn around 350 calories an hour.

Where: Check out nationaltrail.co.uk for great routes or sign up for an epic expedition for a good cause, such as walking the Great Wall of China or Hadrian’s Wall for the British Heart Foundation (bhf.org.uk).

If you love swimming…
Take it to the lakes

The lowdown: If you’ve worked on your stroke all winter in the pool, now’s the time to take your skills outside. There are plenty
of fantastic outdoor swimming locations both in the UK and abroad that will give you more room to stretch your ‘fins’. The beauty of outdoor swimming is the scenery – it can be truly amazing. But if you don’t quite fancy trying your luck in wild waters, there are many lidos up and down the country, too.

Why do it: Swimming outdoors is a fantastic way to wake up in the morning – it’s refreshing and rejuvenating.

Where: Check out wildswim.com for a great map of outdoor swimming locations across the UK – including lidos.