Summer has finally arrived – and for many of us, the warmer weather means spending more time outdoors.
Whether it’s starting your day with a dip in the ocean or enjoying a morning stroll, when it comes to exercise it doesn’t have to be a chore. In WA, we’re blessed with warm, sunny weather which is even more reason to get moving in the great outdoors to help shed those extra kilos we may have piled on during winter. It’s often said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so by adding regular exercise to your daily routine, it will soon become second-nature. Here are some easy workouts you can do almost anywhere, anytime.
WA is known for its pristine beaches so why not make it a part of your daily exercise routine? You don’t have to be a fitness junkie to enjoy the benefits of a brisk walk – not only will you get the heart pumping, burn calories and boost your energy levels, you’ll also stave off those pesky afternoon cravings. Whether you prefer to exercise in the morning or afternoon, set aside 30 minutes each day to include a brisk beach walk in your day. To ensure you’re getting enough out of the walk but not overexerting yourself, use the “singing method” as a guide – while it’s OK if you’re able to talk without feeling too puffed, if you can belt out a tune, then you could be working harder. But if you’re too puffed, try to slow it down. Want to increase intensity? Switch it up by walking in the soft sand every few minutes during your walk. Remember to wear suitable footwear when carrying out this exercise to prevent foot injury from sharp shells, hot sand or debris.
PARK BENCH WORKOUT
When it comes to exercise, the humble park bench is often underutilised. But in fact, it makes a great substitute for exercise equipment. Think squats, dips, step-ups and push-ups – which can all be done using a park bench. Again, if you’re new to these kind of movements, make sure you check with your GP before trying them out. For those who are familiar with these exercises, set aside 15 to 20 minutes two to three times a week. With any new fitness regimen, it’s important to start slow – so begin with eight to 10 repetitions of each movement and, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, or as your fitness improves, repeat the entire set, eventually making your way up to four sets of each movement.
Whether you prefer the beach or the local pool, swimming is a great way to improve your overall health regardless of your age or fitness level. Not only does it burn some serious calories and get your heart pumping, but swimming is good for toning up and losing weight and can also help build strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness, all without putting too much strain on the body. If you’re new to swimming, be sure to start off in your local pool before diving into the ocean. Start with basic strokes such as freestyle, or, if you prefer, brisk walking in the water can be just as effective.
EXERCISING WITH FRIENDS
Having a fitness buddy is one way to make exercise a regular part of your routine – but it’s also a great way to schedule regular catch ups with a friend. Whether it’s setting aside time on the weekend or scheduling a workout a few times a week, exercising with a friend can help keep you motivated, particularly during those times where your energy levels are low and you’re more likely to skip a session. Whether you want to sign up for an outdoor fitness class or go for a brisk walk, teaming up with a friend will boost your determination and help you achieve your health goals . Local running, walking or community groups are also a good way to combine socialising with exercise. You can check with your local council or shire to see what groups you can join in your area.
YOGA IN THE PARK
Yoga has long been known as a good stress-buster but it’s also thought to help lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels and boost circulation . As summer brings warmer weather and lighter days, if you’re looking to boost your mind, body and soul (while taking advantage of the extra daylight) there are plenty of outdoor yoga sessions on offer around Perth and WA. Perth Yoga for Everybody hosts an array of classes across Perth in idyllic locations including the South Perth Foreshore, Lake Claremont, Matilda Bay, and Bells Rapids Waterpark, with Katie Yoga in Busselton hosting outdoor classes on the famous Busselton jetty, and Bunbury’s The Treehouse – Yoga Collective also putting on classes in the park.
Originating more than 700 years ago, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that has many benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. A form of martial arts, Tai Chi comprises slow, gentle and concentrated movements and is thought to burn between 240 to 350 calories in an hour. As well as lowering stress levels, Tai Chi’s many health benefits include improved balance and posture and increased strength and flexibility. Generally performed in an outdoor space like a park, this form of exercise is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Australia holds numerous Tai Chi classes around Perth and WA. To find out more, visit taoist.org.au or phone 1800 108 801.
BEFORE YOU START
So you’ve decided to take charge of your health, but there are some key things people living with diabetes need to consider when undertaking a new exercise regimen:
- Before commencing any new exercises or workouts, check with your GP to make sure you’re safe to do so.
- For those on insulin or medication, you may need to monitor your blood glucose levels more closely and also take a hypo kit with you.
- With the weather warming up, make sure you stay hydrated. Always take a bottle of water with you when you’re heading outdoors. To avoid heat exhaustion, it’s also worthwhile exercising in the cooler part of the day, whether it’s first thing in the morning or later in the evening.
- With the UV rating set to soar during summer, sun protection is vital when exercising outdoors. Make sure you stay protected with suitable clothing (comfortable fitness wear that is breathable and moisture-wicking), apply sunscreen and wear a hat.
- Always wear suitable footwear – think comfortable runners or walking shoes, not sandals or thongs – especially if you’re about to hit the pavement for a walk, jog or run.
- Take extra care with your feet. By adding more physical activity to your routine, your feet can be more susceptible to injury. Check your feet daily for any changes to the skin or shape of your foot.