If you’ve read My Weight Loss Journey blog post, you’ll know that I don’t like the gym, so I’m always trying new ways to stay active. I’ve tried the most random things. I even went to Jump Zone in Sandyford before, which is basically loads of trampolines but honestly, my body was sorer after that than any gym session!
Anyway, I think everyone just needs to find something they enjoy because not only is exercise essential for a healthy body but it’s essential for a healthy mind also (and that’s a scientific fact). That something for me is exercising outdoors.
Unfortunately given the nature of outdoors exercising, it’s weather dependant. Although, as long as it’s dry and you’re wrapped up well, you’ll be grand! Here are a few of my favourite ways to exercise outdoors.
I love the Phoenix Park. There are so many walking and running tracks with stunning scenery (around the duck pond is one of my favourite routes) but my favourite workout to do is as follows:
- Enter the Park at the Chapelizod entrance, turn left and follow the road until you come to a car park which will be on your right. This is my starting point.
- I jog from this car park to the bottom of the Papal Cross (about 1 kilometre).
- Once I get to the bottom of the Cross, I sprint up the hill as fast as I can. It’s tough on the legs, but that’s always a good sign.
- I grab my breath which is very much needed, then I run down the hill and up the steps behind the Cross (see image below), and repeat as any times as I can.
- At the end of the steps there’s an area lined with trees (see image below). Pick a spot there and do as many lunges, squats, planks, sits ups, that you can.
- Walk back to the car. If you can jog at that stage, you’re a legend!
This is such a beautiful walk and since you’re walking up a hill at all times, it’s a fantastic way to fit in some cardio. The view from the top is absolutely gorgeous also!
I mentioned this before in my 7 Reasons to Visit Wicklow post. If you walk with a bit of pace, this one isn’t easy, especially when you get to the part where you’ve to climb to the summit. You have to use your hands and feet and literally climb because it’s quite steep, but again it’s a great workout and the views at the top are unreal. I’d advise that you only climb the Sugar Loaf when it’s dry out, it can get slippery with the mud and lose stones towards the top.
Portmarnock to Malahide
And back again! It’s just over 4 km one way (8km round trip) but when you get to Malahide there some lovely cafés, so grab something to eat before you walk back.
Bray to Greystones
Again, I’ve mentioned this before here. The views on this walk are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and I have been to some amazing places. Add this one to your 2017 goals, you will not regret it.
Try jogging for some of it. You’ll be so distracted by the scenery you’ll barely notice :p The walk is just over 6km one way. You could do the round trip or you could take the Dart back to Bray. Try The Happy Pear for lunch, it’s the epitome of healthy eating and the brothers that run it are sound!
Like the Sugar Loaf, Bray Head should only be done on a dry day because it can get so slippery with the mud. It will take you about 30 to 40 minutes to walk to the top of Bray Head. Try to walk as fast as you can. This is a fantastic workout and because the walk is so steep, it’s particularly effective on the ‘aul glutes! Once at the top, the views are breath-taking, so make sure you bring the camera.
Hell & Back
I’d literally try anything rather than go to the gym! I love sports and was always good at them because I competed in so many different kinds when I was growing up. So, I knew the physical side of Hell & Back wouldn’t bother me. It was the being cold, wet and dirty side of it that I dreaded! That was of course the worst of it (although some of the activities where tough, like carrying a log across your shoulders up a bloody mountain!). But all in all, I’d do it again tomorrow! You can sign up here if you’re interested!
With the exception of Hell & Back, everything above is free so you should at least give those a go. You might even exercising outdoors as much as I do. You could also try activities like paintballing, sports day at work, charity walks, the possibilities are endless!