Why do outdoor fitness?
If it’s time to get your summer weight loss plan underway – it’s time to think outside the box. Literally. Read on to find out why taking your workout off-road and into the great doors could be the best decision you make for your health and fitness.
As the days finally start stretching into delightfully long evenings and the sunshine tempts us out from hibernation, it makes less and less sense to shut ourselves away in a sweaty gym for hours on end.
If the thought of baring your winter skin or preparing for the beach this summer is making you want to dive headfirst into a new fitness routine then you’ve come to the right place.
But with so many different exercise options on the market, it can be hard to know where to even begin when choosing which kind of exercise is going to be right for you.
There are things to consider like convenience and cost. And then there’s the question of which workout is going to get you the best results, not to mention trying to find one you might actually enjoy!
They key is doing something you’ll find easy to stick with, and dare we say it, you might even end up looking forward to.
Here at British Military Fitness, all our workouts are held outdoors and we are firm believers in all the benefits that outdoor fitness has to offer. Read on to find out more about why getting outdoors for your workout is better for you.
Just wanted to get started straight away? Try one of the 500 BMF classes held in UK parks every week for free- click here to find one near you.
What is outdoor fitness?
Although it might sound fairly self-explanatory that outdoor fitness is, well… fitness that’s outdoors, it can come in many different shapes and forms and mean different things to different people.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular kinds of outdoor fitness:
- Team sports
Many of us will have played team sports during our school years, whether competitively or socially. For many, the end of school can also mean the end of team sport, as work, stress and generally trying to keep your life in order as an adult gets in the way.
Before we know it, the great times we had playing sport as part of a team have become a distant, schoolyard memory.
But there are plenty of social, adult sports leagues available in the UK (and in fact, many people even find that British Military Fitness replaces what they missed with a team sport - the camaraderie, team spirit and encouragement), from netball and football, right through to lacrosse and rounders. The world is your oyster!
- Outdoor fitness equipment for parks
Outdoor gyms have become a regular site in parks across the UK and are a fun way to switch up your workout, providing a nice change from the gym.
They usually consist of various machines targeting upper body, lower body or core and some of the more advanced ones even feature wooden obstacles, parallel bars, pull-up bars and benches – perfect for Crossfit or Military style training.
So, on the next sunny day why not swerve the gym, grab a buddy and hit a bodyweight workout at your local park!
You can usually find which parks near you have outdoor gyms via your local council website.
Love it or hate it, running is one of the most popular fitness activities in the world, and there are a few big reasons why:
- It’s flexible – In terms of convenience, running is king! You can run almost anytime, anywhere and you don’t need any equipment except a decent pair of trainers.
- It’s cardio – A good running training plan can have amazing cardiovascular health benefits. Whether you’re doing long or short distances, the benefits for your heart and aerobic capacity are undeniable.
- It’s simple – There’s are no tricky moves or routines to learn with running. Although it is important to have great running technique.
- It’s social – There are a heap of great running clubs out there which are a great way to work towards your running goals while making new friends as well. Check out a few of our faves; Nike Running Club, British Military Fitness Running Clubs, LDN Brunch Club (Did someone say brunch? Sign us up!)
However, there are a few drawbacks of hitting the pavement to be aware of before you embark on any kind of running training schedule.
- While running will improve your cardio fitness, it doesn’t address the issue of strength training. It’s important to add some resistance training, even if it is only body weight resistance, into your fitness routine to help build lean muscle, improve bone density and your metabolic health.
- Running can be hard on your body. The movement of slapping your feet against the ground repetitively can be damaging to your bones and joints if not managed. Any new running routine should go hand-in-hand with a plan for regular, stretching, mobility and recovery too. Read what six doctors had to say about how to manage the risks of running.
Whether you’re a total beginner or have a marathon in your sights, our complete runners guide is a great resource.
- Outdoor fitness classes
The fun and motivation of outdoor fitness classes make them a great option for getting social and making friends while also getting great results.
Read on to the section below to see our guide to some of the top outdoor fitness class options in the UK.
You may be surprised to see us recommending alternatives/additions to British Military Fitness - the reason is, we 100% advocate the UK getting more active and outdoors more, so if BMF isn't the solution for you, we're sure we'll still be able to help you in the right direction.
What outdoor fitness classes are available?
If you’re looking for organised, outdoor fitness class to join, you’re in luck! The UK has a huge variety of outdoor workout options, below are some of the most popular:
GoMammoth is not exclusively outdoor fitness but it is the UK’s largest social sports and fitness club.
The platform brings together team sports, fitness classes and group activities from all over the country into one place, so you can choose the activity you want
There are a whole range of different sports leagues available, from football to Ultimate Frisbee, so if you’re thinking about joining a sports team, GoMammoth is a great starting point.
Sign up and pre-pay for your preferred sports league or fitness class option on the GoMammoth site here.
British Military Fitness
British Military Fitness classes are military-style bootcamp workouts using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) originally designed to improve and maintain the fitness of some of the fittest individuals on the planet.
BMF classes are a “civilian friendly” version of workouts designed to be much less we replace scary drill sergeants with things like fun, camaraderie and team games.
All classes are delivered by ex or current-serving members of the armed forces who are highly trained fitness professionals and masters in the art of motivation.
With 500 classes run in more than 140 venues nationwide every week, BMF is the largest outdoor fitness provider in the UK and is your go-to for fitness that is fun and social but also packs a punch when it comes to results.
Find a BMF workout near you and sign up for a free trial class here.
If you’re in need of a total re-set and you’re looking for a way to give your new fitness routine a kick-start, a dedicated fitness retreat can be a great option.
Although we don’t think fitness should be seen as a quick-fix, retreats or intensive bootcamps can be a good way to re-set your habits, make friends and get advice from knowledgeable professionals if you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey.
The key is to take everything you learn during your bootcamp break and put it into practice when you get back to the real world. Finding a regular outdoor workout you enjoy is the best option to help you continue to get results.
There are loads of different bootcamp-style, outdoor retreats that are run all year round in the UK. Check out a list of the most popular ones here.
What are the benefits of outdoor fitness?
How does outdoor fitness measure up when compared with things like the gym, the pool or working out at home?
Maybe we’re biased, but in our view there’s just nothing quite like feeling the grass underfoot and the fresh air on your face while you’re getting fit with your mates.
Nature is natural therapy and has wide-ranging impacts on all aspects of our health, including mentally and emotionally as well as physical effects such as reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and reducing stress hormones.
But rather than take our word for it, we decided to get the experts involved, and see if there really was anything better about getting fit in the great outdoors – turns out there’s a lot that backs up our theory! Check out what we found:
- Mental Health
There is a tonne of literature published on the effects of getting outdoors. A UK Parliament report in 2016 showed some pretty compelling findings when it comes to the impact of green space on our mental health as a nation, even suggesting that “nature-based” therapy be used to relieve some mental and physical illnesses and improve recovery time.
Meanwhile, a study at the University of Essex examined the impact of exercising in nature, or green exercise, on mental health. The results showed that exposure to outdoor exercise had significant positive impacts like improving self-esteem and mood and reducing stress and insomnia for both males and females across all age groups.
Another recent study published by Mind found that taking a walk in nature reduced depression by 71% of participants!
The results don’t get much more compelling than that when it comes to nature’s impact on our mental wellbeing so ditch the treadmill and get to your nearest park, stat!
- Forget about the clock
The great thing about working out outdoors is that it doesn’t feel like exercise. So instead of painfully watching your workout tick by measured by the countdown timer on the treadmill or the music videos on repeat in the gym. When we’re outdoors we are so immersed in our environment and surrounded by different stimuli, that clock watching goes out the window and before we know it, an hour of exercise flashes by.
- Get more bang for your buck
According to medical studies done at Harvard, wind resistance experienced while running outside can lift your calorie burn by up to 10%.
Not only will you burn more, but you’ll do more too. Studies have shown that those who work out outdoors generally end up training for longer, due to increased enjoyment and reduced boredom.
Not only do you do more working outside but it’s better for your body. The firm, flat surfaces of gym equipment like treadmills place more stress on your knees and ligaments, causing bigger impact on your joints and making it harder to recover.
- Train for an event
There are few things more satisfying than the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a sporting event.
And whether it’s a 5KM run or an ultra-marathon, having the looming deadline of a date you’ve been building towards, the motivation is unbeatable.
This will in-turn super-charge your competitiveness and add a whole new dimension to your training as you start thinking beyond just physical and aesthetic goals and become focused on beating your personal best!
If you’ve got an event like a Spartan race, for example, in your sights, British Military Fitness workouts are an incredible way to take your fitness to the next level while also improving your coordination, agility and mental toughness, so you’re ready for whatever the race course throws at you.
- Let the sunshine in
Now, we know the UK isn’t, well, the sunniest spot in the world. Which is why it’s more important than ever to soak up that Vitamin D every chance we get.
Not only does natural light invigorate and energise your body and mind, Vitamin D also enhances energy generation of the muscle and oxidation of the tissues, meaning that working out in the sun literally has a direct impact on your fitness gains.
And now that the summer months are finally here, it’s the perfect time to get out and make hay while the sun shines (and work on your tan while you’re at it).
Just don’t forget your sunscreen and water bottle!
If you need even more reasons to get active outdoors, check out this article.
Or if you’re ready to get started with a British Military Fitness workout, find a free trial session near you now. Click here.