Summer is on the way – and for many of us, so too is a return to fitness. But if ongoing COVID risks have you feeling wary about returning to the gym, don’t despair – according to Sydney-based personal trainer Raquel Holgado, there are lots of ways to get (and stay!) fit in the great outdoors.
“During COVID, some people who regularly train and do exercise – which is great – have continued with this active lifestyle, even with restrictions in place like gyms and beaches being closed for a period of time,” says Holgado, who offers 1:1 sessions as well as outdoor fitness, running and swimming group training in Sydney city, the eastern suburbs and inner west.
“When I train, I can go for a run, or swim, or do weights or core at home. I like cycling, I like walking, I like climbing, I love being active, doing outdoor training and mixing sessions.”
For others, she says, the restrictions created a lot of barriers to maintaining a regular exercise routine.
“Many people have been sitting or spending more time indoors than usual this year,” she says.
Start your engines
If you’re one of the latter – and let’s face it, that’s most of us! – then the thought of returning to exercise might be a little bit daunting. The good news is, re-starting a fitness routine doesn’t mean launching yourself back into your pre-COVID physique. Instead, Holgado says, slow and steady is what it’s all about.
“Getting back into exercise after a long period of time should be done progressively. Don’t overdo it right away,” she says.
“For people who are really struggling to get back into it, you can just start going outside for a walk or a light jog, just to get moving.”
Head outdoors (or stay in!)
If you’re not ready to re-activate your gym membership, that’s okay – machines and weights aren’t the only way to start building your fitness. Instead, head into the backyard or to your local park for some cardio, pop down to the beach or your local pool for a swim or clear yourself bit of space in the lounge room to do yoga exercises.
If you’re working out at home, you can also use household items to take the place of gym equipment – for example, use a chair to do dips or step-ups, or fill a backpack with heavy items to add weight to your exercises. Simple equipment, like resistance bands, are also great for home use without costing a fortune.
Mix it up
Combining a range of activities into your weekly routine is key to staying motivated. Varying your activity keeps things interesting, and it also gives you the opportunity to combine aerobic (sustained cardio activities where you up your heart rate for long periods of time) and anaerobic (short bursts of activity at maximum effort) work, which is great for overall health.
“The more variety you include in your routine, the more results you could see,” Holgado says
“When I train, I can go for a run, or swim, or do weights or core at home. I also like cycling, I like walking, I like climbing, I love being active, doing outdoor training and mixing sessions.”
Seek it out
If solo workouts aren’t cutting it, then consider a more structured approach like hiring a personal trainer or joining a boot camp or running group. Many of these services are up and running again with COVID safe measures in place.
You should tailor your exercises to suit your age and fitness level. Always chat to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.