Make your neigh­bour­hood your gym

Kapi-Mana News - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Most of us are back at work now, full of food, good in­ten­tions and a few too many cel­e­bra­tory wines or beers.

With a new year comes self-re­flec­tion, con­tem­pla­tion, goalset­ting, and quite of­ten, a de­sire to get into shape.

Any­time is good to build new habits but sum­mer is un­doubt­edly the best time to make the most of the beau­ti­ful coun­try we live in. Whether you’re a city-sider, re­side in the coun­try or near the ocean, strap­ping on a pair of run­ning shoes and get­ting out­side is a great way to get fit and smash your res­o­lu­tions. It also al­lows you to see your neigh­bour­hood from a new per­spec­tive.

Here’s a few top tips to turn your play­ground into a train­ing ground:

1. Get onto Google Maps and find your near­est park. Put your shoes on, start ex­plor­ing and fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with what’s out there. Some parks have trails and fit­ness equip­ment, oth­ers have hills and great grassy ar­eas where you can do core strength ex­er­cises, sprints and run drills. Or just get to know some of the streets in your neigh­bour­hood. Sim­ple play­ground equip­ment can be used for se­ri­ous train­ing: think dips on park benches, pullups on mon­key bars and sprint­ing (or jumps!) up sets of stairs. Use your imag­i­na­tion – and while you’re there, have a go on a slide and tap into that in­ner kid!

2. Close prox­im­ity can help with mo­ti­va­tion and ease of ac­cess. Be­ing able to head straight out from the of­fice can help pre­vent that dip in mo­ti­va­tion that oc­curs when we walk in the door af­ter a long day to spy the couch and the TV re­mote. It will also help you process ev­ery­thing that hap­pened at work so that you can come home and be more present with your fam­ily and friends.

3. Know what works for you. Maybe you run best on your own or need a buddy to help keep you mo­ti­vated. Maybe you need a run group to learn from. There are many types of run­ning groups out there – from pro­fes­sional tech­nique-fo­cused run squads to boot­camps, to groups of friends and neigh­bours who just want to get out and work out. Ask around on Neigh­bourly. Many run­ning clubs and fit­ness groups will of­fer com­pli­men­tary trial ses­sions; give a few a go and see if they’re for you or not (you’ll get fit try­ing!). Re­mem­ber – a big part of stay­ing mo­ti­vated in group train­ing is find­ing peo­ple you gel with. If it feels like a good fit then it prob­a­bly is. Ask the trainer a lit­tle about the sorts of peo­ple train­ing, what to ex­pect and let them know your goals too.

4. Make sure you have a goal! Want to com­plete a full marathon? Maybe book in a half marathon first. Or even start with 5k or 10k races. Make an ac­tion plan for the year, that’s re­al­is­tic for you to stick to.

5. Make sure you try a few dif­fer­ent run­ning routes in your area. This is re­ally im­por­tant to keep your mo­ti­va­tion lev­els up. Run­ning the same route can be­come dull; the brain switches off and in­jury can creep in.


Phys­io­ther­a­pist and ath­lete Stu Ross is an ex­pert on how to get fit in your own neigh­bour­hood.

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