Family Fitness: Fun Runs

Written by: Helen

Last year I spent all year either pregnant or with a small baby so exercise wasn’t at the top of my priority list (it was lower down, somewhere between getting a half decent night’s sleep and leaving the house with matching shoes).  This year I wanted to start returning to some semblance of a fitness regime and getting back into shape (no pressure, I’d still prefer a decent night’s sleep).

One thing I was keen to do was some sort of fun run.  The main reason being that I thought I would enjoy it and the second reason being that it may encourage me to do some training.  And this month I have done, not one but two runs.  Both were ran with my five year old son and both were thoroughly enjoyable.  It has been great including my family in my running as it is a nice thing to do together.  These are the two runs we have done:

 

The Colour Run

This was lots of fun.  It was a mile long course which wasn’t too taxing for someone like me who hasn’t experienced formal exercise in a while (apart from running round after the children).  Basically, you run the mile and every so often people throw coloured, powdered paint at you.  There’s no age limit and the paint is harmless so it’s perfect for doing with children.  The best thing is the money goes to LOROS which is a great charity.  You can find out about LOROS’s fundraising events here.

 

 

Mini Military Mud Run

I did this race with my son again and this time my husband joined us.  You can run either 2K or decide to do the 5K.  We opted for the 2K this time but will try the 5K next time.  As implied in the name, you get very muddy and also very wet!  Which made my son a happy boy.  It’s not often he gets to splash around in mud without his wellies on!  It is fun and also tiring.  There are obstacles dotted along the course and it’s hard going in the thick mud, especially when helping little ones.  However, it was fantastic to do as a family and we are now all looking forward to our next one.  You can find more out about the mini military mud run here.

 

5 Reasons to exercise as a family

1)Bonding

It can be hard in busy lives to get quality time as a family.  Often ‘family time’ can be watching a film or a trip to the cinema.  As nice as these are they don’t allow time to chat and laugh together and you just can’t beat some family time in the outdoors.

 

2)Sets a good example

Putting time aside for family exercise can instil good habits that your children will hopefully carry with them the rest of their lives.

 

3)It’s not just good for the kids

You are far less likely to try and dodge doing exercise if you are all doing it together.  It’s a good way to help keep you motivated.

 

4)It doesn’t have to cost money

Children are expensive.  Doing stuff is expensive.  Exercise however is free.  Signing up for a fun run usually costs some money which often goes to charity.  However, walking, running and cycling are all free.  You can get fit and have fun without spending money.

 

5)You can raise money for charity

We ran our colour run with Loros Hospice.  If you build up to walking, running or cycling for a charitable event then it can give your children a great sense of accomplishment and, if they understand who benefits from what they are doing then it gives them good values.

 

Do you ever exercise with your family?  Have you done any of the runs I mentioned?  Let me know in the comments below.  If you want to sign up for my monthly email just pop your email address in the subscription box.  Thanks for reading.

7 Ways to get Fit Outdoors

Written by: Helen

I don’t know about where you are, but this week the weather here has been glorious.  Granted, now as I write the wind is blowing and the clouds are starting to thicken so perhaps it’s changing.  When it comes to the UK who knows what’s in store with the weather.  However, that’s all the more reason to make the most of it when the sun is out.  If the idea of going to the gym makes you groan aloud then perhaps getting some exercise outdoors will be more up your street.  And if the sun is shining then there’s really no excuse.

There are plenty of ways to get outdoors and exercise.  However, here are a few:

1)Tennis

Tennis is a great workout for your legs, arms and upperbody.  It is also good for your coordination and speed.  Get in touch with your local tennis club and join in.  Or just grab a friend (you should probably ask them first) and a racket, book a court and start practising.

 

2)Bootcamp

Bootcamp fitness is group training outdoors.  It doesn’t have to be sunny as they tend to take place whatever the weather but for your first time you might want the sun to be shining until you’ve toughened up a bit!  The classes are based on military style training and aim to be fun whilst giving you a full body work out.

 

3)Running

Running can seem a little daunting.  It is a good idea to build yourself up gradually.  Go for short runs a few times a week and then aim to increase the length of your run.  You will notice that you are slowly able to go for longer.  If you are struggling then don’t worry about taking short walking breaks.  You will find your stamina and fitness increase the more you run.  The best part is you don’t really need any gear apart from a pair of comfortable running trainers.

 

adult, architecture, athlete

 

4)Cycling

Cycling is good for your heart, it burns calories and is also a form of exercise that doesn’t put pressure on your joints.  The best way to get into cycling is to start using your bike for short journeys and then gradually build on this.  Using your bike for an everyday journey such as the commute to work is great exercise.

 

5)Hiking/walking

Hiking can give you a powerful cardio workout.  If you are going to start hiking then the best thing is to take time choosing a route, wear the right clothing (ie. make sure you are comfortable and warm enough) and have comfortable walking shoes.  If you can’t go on a long hike then a gentler walk still has health benefits.  A good way of getting into this is by joining a local rambling group.

 

6)Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking is an aerobic exercise that can help improve your strength.  There are plenty of places in the UK where you can learn canoeing and kayaking and meet other paddlers.

 

7)Outdoor exercise regime

The other way is to simply move your exercises to the outdoors!  Instead of jumping around in front of a fitness DVD in your living room, jump around in the fresh air instead.  There’s nothing stopping you from doing your sit-ups in your garden as opposed to indoors.  Yoga and Pilates are particularly nice to do outside.  Here is a link to a 30 minute outdoor workout

 

Woman in Yellow Sports Bra Stretching Near Green Grass Field

 

If you want more exercise tips check out my post about spring cleaning your exercise regime.

Do you exercise outdoors?  If so what do you enjoy doing?  Thanks for reading.  If you’d like me to notify you of my monthly posts just pop your email in the subscription box.

How I’ll Stick to my 2017 Resolutions

Written by: Helen

I’m a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I always make them.  Granted they may have fallen by the wayside come March, but I, like many people, enjoy starting the year with writing down goals; a plan for how I would like the year to turnout.

Inevitably some resolutions I can stick to and others I can’t.  Resolutions I make that are connected to diet and exercise I tend to find the hardest to stick to.  And judging by the way gyms everywhere are full in January and then empty again in February I don’t think I’m alone in this.  For me, this is because after the usual Christmas and New Year gluttony, I’m ready to launch myself with gusto into healthy eating and a stricter exercise regime.  However, after a few months I’ve either fallen off the wagon entirely or I’m perhaps still eating reasonably healthy and doing some exercise, but not with the same kind of fervour that I promised myself at the start of the year.

So this year I’ve come up with an ingenious way to stick to my diet and exercise resolutions….I’m not making any.  Okay, so it’s not that ingenious but it’s also not a complete cop-out.  I had a baby in August so I do have some baby weight I’d like to shift and I’d also like to get back into a decent exercise routine and start running again.

However, writing down goals that I won’t be able to stick to for a whole year can leave feelings of failure.  So this year I’ve made no mention of diet or exercise.  I know the things I need to do.  I need to switch the unhealthy snacks (particularly the ones that I munch on whilst breastfeeding) for healthy ones; I need to go for a run once the baby is in bed.  But I’m going to do these things in my own time and without putting pressure on myself.  I’m going to ease myself back into exercise gradually and maybe, down the line, I’ll set myself some goals.

There will be times when I’ll stay in the warm instead of going for a run.  There will be times when I’ll put down the apple and pick up a chocolate bar.  But, overall, I’ll hopefully end the year a bit healthier and fitter than when 2017 started.  I’m just going to get there gently.

This doesn’t mean I’m not making New Year’s resolutions.  As I said at the start I loooove making them.  I’m just avoiding any that mention diet and exercise.  This year my resolutions look more like a bucket list of things I’d like to do and see this year.  I’d like to go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour (has anyone else been on this? Is it completelely magical??), I also want to see Stonehenge and I’d like to do more charity work.

So, in between nighttime feeds and dirty nappies, 2017 is about being kind to myself and setting achievable goals.  Have you made New Year’s resolutions?  How do you stick with yours?  Thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll send healthy posts to your inbox.