Continued from Thinking Outside the Gym – Exercise Outdoors Pt 1.

Let’s get outdoors!

Hiking, running, cycling are activities the majority of us can get to most days, but others like skiing, surfing and climbing need more preparation and planning, but are equally absorbing and cleansing. Any troubles I think I have before roping up for a climb are quickly eradicated once I’m on that rock!


It’s almost as if simply being away from the reminders of our daily stresses (cellphones, laptops, emails and To Do lists) automatically lifts a weight off our shoulders – even if we’re putting that weight back on with a climb!

Joey Bull thinking outside the gym_2

Join the movement

Many of my clients join me outside for a charge around the woods and then a lie down on the bench beneath the filtering sun through the trees. We can push harder in the gym with some muscle groups but we can’t get the same pleasure and rush of endorphins that satisfy so wholly. The charge that an individual gets from the outdoors cannot be underestimated.

Research in 2012 showed a 52% increase in women exercising outdoors since 2007, with 48% of women exercising outdoors three times a week. The study was commissioned by sports bra brand Shock Absorber – hence its female orientation. Dr Jo Barton, a researcher in green exercise at the University of Essex, showed that 88% of people experience greatly elevated mood after exercising outdoors, compared to 48% of people who claimed there mood actually worsened after indoor exercise. Whilst the last figure surprises me, the former does not.

Running (48%) and cycling (26%) were the two most popular activities amongst the women questioned but buggy fit and boot camps were increasingly responsible for this growing trend.

Group exercises are better outdoors

My friend and fellow WatchFit Expert Contributor Kate Staples will be known to plenty of you as the lovely ‘Zodiac’ from the hey day of TV’s Gladiators. She was also a GB pole vaulter who set over 40 national, European and Commonwealth records. Since those days she has become a hugely respected trainer and founded the successful Adventure Bootcamps in the UK.

Kate has achieved fantastic things with groups who are happy to brave the elements, whether it is 6am or late afternoon. Her camps engender great loyalty and commitment and those taking part enjoy fabulous results. Kate fervently believes that she would neither create the same sense of team and camaraderie or achieve the same results if working indoors and in a gym environment. I am sure she’s right.

Be happier together

Her original idea was to try and replicate the sort of camps she had been on with GB Athletics and Gladiators where you shared the positive achievements of others, whose success rubbed off on you and spurred you on.

So those of you who experience a little gymtimidation and find the environment more anxiety making than confidence building, and those who find conventional gym work unappealing and a bit soulless… Join me and lets get outside!

Remember – There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! 

Read more from WatchFit Expert Joey Bull.

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