Revealed: the UK’s top 10 green exercise spots

Isn’t this weather amazing? It got me thinking about outdoor training in all its forms: biking (which I’m about to do myself), running, open-water swimming and classes like bootcamps. Do you train outdoors?

I was recently sent the results of a survey which showed that women in particular are most definitely ditching the gym in favour of exercising outside. There’s been a 52% increase in women exercising outside since 2007, apparently. Nearly half of the women surveyed are exercising outdoors 3+ times every week (with gym fees gives as the main reason).

The results of the survey, commissioned by sports bra brand Shock Absorber, suggest that there’s more to it than finances, though. 34% of the women surveyed said they actually feel they get a better workout when they’re outside because they find the surroundings so inspiring.

Intrigued by this comment, Shock Absorber delved deeper, partnering with Dr Jo Barton (a leading researcher in green exercise at the University of Essex) in a bid to identify the UK’s top ten inspirational green exercise hotspots. The criteria were: a balance of green space and water, stimulating views and proximity to wildlife.

I think we can all agree that a windswept coastline, lush green field or imposing set of hills make us feel exhilarated, uplifted and full of endorphins. So, what (or where) topped the list, according to the poll? I wonder if any of you are lucky enough to live near any of these…

White Cliffs of Dover, England (been there! Once or twice… LOL…)
Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, England
Lunan Bay & Red Head, Scotland
Brecon Beacons, Wales
Killarney National Park, Republic of Ireland
Hampstead Heath, England (been there!)
Loch Tay, Scotland (been near there, very beautiful indeed!)
Downhill, Northern Ireland
Forest of Dean (been there! very hilly for cycling, trust me)
Powis Castle, Welshpool, Wales

Do any of you live near these places? Do you run, cycle, walk or hike there regularly? How do the views and surroundings affect your mood and the perception of your workout?

Dr Barton said: “Green exercise offers unique benefits compared to working out indoors. It significantly improves mood, self-esteem and restores mental fatigue. Added to this, people work harder when in a natural environment but perceive their workout to be easier. Training in the great outdoors also provides essential variety, especially with the changeable British weather – this maintains interest and reduces dropout whereas keeping fit indoors is more predictable.”

Shock Absorber has launched its “Get Out There” campaign to promote the benefits of exercising in the great outdoors and encourage women to share their inspirational places to train. By uploading photos to the campaign’s Facebook page, people can be inspired by others’ experiences and get out there to try new locations for themselves. You can see lots of lovely inspirational locations and participate in the campaign by visiting Get Out There.

Revealed: the UK’s top 10 green exercise spots is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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