Outdoors exercise means a bout of Vitamin D, a release of endorphins and a great way to get fit ready for your holidays.  Here are five ways to improve your post natal fitness.

1. Fartlek

This is Swedish for ‘Speed Play’ and is a form of interval training. It is unstructured so great for everyone and if you are just getting back into jogging or running after a baby as you can vary your speeds and distances.

Here are some examples:

Watson Fartlek
Suitable for 10k, 5k, 3k and cross country.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Run hard for 4 minutes with 1 minute jog recovery – repeat 6-8 times
  • 10 minute cool down

Gerschler Fartlek
Combine this with steady running sessions to improve fitness quickly.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times – run hard for 30 seconds, jog 90 seconds. Repeat with 15 second decreases in recovery jog e.g. 30-90, 30-75, 30-60, 30-45, 30-30, 30-15 and 30-15-30
  • 10 minute cool down

2.   Jogging

A popular activity and the one most people associate with exercise. It is a good and easy way to get into shape. To be safe, there are some recommendations for running after you have had a baby (no matter when you had your baby). You must get pair of running shoes (ditch the ones that have been in the loft that you had for 3 years) and sports bra and you must improve your leg and pelvic floor (i.e. you are not having any ‘leaks’ when you walk, cough or sneeze, lift objects) and core strength (neglect your core post baby and you risk injury) before doing any jogging or running (usually 6 months after a baby).  Start slow with a 10-15 minute jog and then walk for 10-15 minutes making it a total of 20-30 minutes’ activity.

To run well and improve your performance you need to have a strong and well functioning core. One of the common misconceptions is that the core is solely your ab muscles. The core is in fact the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, consisting of 29 muscles! The abdominal muscles are only a small portion of the total musculature involved in the core.  Adequately training the core involves a lot more than just doing crunches and sit-ups. In fact, you can strengthen and develop your core without doing a single sit-up!

All human movement originates from the core whether it be crawling, walking, running, swimming or kayaking. A well-functioning core is the base from which the rest of the body moves.

3. Cycling

Cycling outdoors is perfect for getting fit – cycling in parks is more strenuous as some namely Richmond Park have some great hills!  Plus you haven’t got the traffic and you can take your little one with you on the back of your bike (ensure you have a good child’s bike seat). Alternatively ditch the train/tube or car and  ‘commute cycle’ to work also saving you time and money. Cycling really helps tone your bottom and thighs.  Wear a helmet and start slow and increase speed and distance over time.

4.  Bodyweight Circuits

A great all over conditioning and fat loss form of exercise. Structured classes are enjoyable as you can go with a friend and you only need a mat. Try TheBeezKneez for outdoors classes.

5. Outdoors Park Gym Equipment

Some of the local parks now have fitness equipment and cardio machines.  If you children are playing in the park at the time, it’s a great way for you to get fit. Be sure to wear full fitness gear and good quality trainers and know how to use the equipment – start slow, then build up your speed or time as you get fitter.

 

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