Embrace the great outdoors this summer
Rakhi Shingadia, Community Sports Manager at Better Leisure, offers her expert advice on the best ways to enjoy open air exercise this summer.
Nothing beats the feeling of exercising outdoors on a sunny summer’s day. The physical and mental benefits of training in a natural environment are now well documented. In fact researchers writing in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology found that exercising in the open air makes people feel more revitalised, more energetic and offers an effective way to reduce tension, anger and depression.
Pick up a racket
Tennis is the ideal summer sport and is suitable for virtually everyone, regardless of experience or fitness levels. Playing tennis elevates your heart rate, improving your circulatory health, lowering your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Even better, the average person will burn around 220 calories in just 30 minutes when playing a singles match. And, because tennis is played with a partner it adds a social element to exercise, making it a great way to establish and maintain friendships.
Your co-ordination is also likely to improve as you improve your tennis game. Benefits include better balance, speed, flexibility and physical accuracy.
The White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon is one of the region’s leading tennis centres offering the opportunity to play casually or competitively, providing coaching for beginners through to county level players.
Take the plunge
While outdoor swimming isn’t always for the faint-hearted in this country, the Thames corridor boasts a number of heated outdoor pools, which really come into their own during the summer months. Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool offers great family fun, with an outdoor pool, splash park and spray fountains. While for a more sedate experience try Woodstock’s retro 1970s lido, which is heated to a balmy 29 degrees.
Swimming outdoors regularly leads to a strengthened immune system. And while swimming itself is a great form of exercise, swimming in cold water is even better as your body burns extra calories to keep warm. Studies have shown that the long-term health benefits of regular outdoor swims include reduced blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced fat disposition and inhibited blood clotting.
Best foot forward
With brighter, warmer, longer days summer is the ideal time to join a running group. If slogging it out on the treadmill isn’t for you, then give the joys of running in company a try. By joining one of the numerous running groups based at Better leisure centres across the region and surrounding yourself with experienced and enthusiastic runners, you’re much more likely to exercise regularly, rather than depending solely on your own motivation. Being part of a group will also encourage new friendships with likeminded people who share your passion and who will inspire you to keep training.
Please see www.better.org.uk to find out more about your local facilities.