Hello and welcome to another year of G Spots! I thought I would start off my first post in 2016 on a healthy note with some fitness ideas. Start as I meant to go on and all that ahem, but being a lover of eating and drinking, I don’t know how long this reformed me will last!
With so many “New Year, New You” headlines in the press, I thought I would highlight new ways to get fit and do a bit of outdoor training. Yes I know what you’re thinking – we live in Belfast not Barbados, so working out in the fresh air could be a little nippy to say the least, but turns out there’s a few extra benefits you mightn’t have considered.
BURN MORE CALORIES: The resistance generated from the wind when running or cycling outdoors means you often burn more calories than if you were indoors. Also uneven ground makes your body work harder as it has to be more alert. So according to the experts you can still do the same workout, but taking it outdoors will make it more effective. Park Runs exploded in 2015 and it is looking to be the same for 2016. Here are Belfast’s best….
- North Belfast http://www.parkrun.org.uk/waterworks
- East Belfast: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/belfastvictoria
- South Belfast http://www.parkrun.org.uk/ormeau
- West Belfast http://www.parkrun.org.uk/falls
IMPROVE YOUR MOOD: Research has shown that there is a link between spending time outdoors and lifting your mood and reducing stress. Leading mental health and depression charity, AWARE tells us that any form of exercise is good for depression, but fresh air and increased oxygen outside helps release the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin – meaning your outdoor training sessions not only help keep you fit and healthy but also life your mood. If you can get a buddy and catch up on the gossip walking, it definitely feels more fun than work.
ENJOY THE SCENERY: Travelling to work and back in the dark means it’s easy to miss the beautiful view around us. Exercising outdoors lets us enjoy the scenery and stops us getting bored. Running or even walking through different scenery means we have a lot to look at, so in theory we will enjoy it more and end up exercising for longer, almost by accident. I did a lovely walk round Blackhead Path recently – here are a few other routes you can try from www.walkni.com or www.cycleni.com
TONE BABY TONE: By taking advantage of the hills and parks you can tone your whole body, for free. Hill sprints are a great way of getting maximum results, particularly as sprinting is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. Short, sharp bursts of movement at an incline will help push you to the limit while also building and toning muscle. When you’re there a range of objects that can double up as exercise equipment. Take a park bench – you can do tricep dips or step-ups. If you are feeling very brave, try some bursts and sprint up and down a hill. I regularly walk round Stormont and up and down the hill a few times will knock the nonsense out of you.
The secret to all this is getting started. If you need extra inspiration take on a fitness challenge for a charity so you are raising money as well as getting in shape for your summer holidays. Here are a few I will be supporting this year…
*Feature pic credit CycleNI
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com