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From treadmill to turf: women desert the gym for the great outdoors
The UK’s Top 10 ‘Green’ workout hotspots are revealed alongside new survey findings from Shock Absorber.
The weather may be frightful but an al fresco workout can be delightful as new research* reveals today that more women are opting for the great outdoors to exercise (52% increase since 2007).
Nearly half of women (48 per cent) are exercising outside three times a week or more and three fifths (60 per cent) cite expensive fees as the reason they’re not going to the gym.
The study, conducted by Shock Absorber, the UK’s leading sports bra brand, reveals the benefits of the Great Outdoors are more than financial.
More than a third (34 per cent) of women felt they achieved a better workout because they were inspired by the surroundings and half (50 per cent) love the fresh air.
According to Dr Jo Barton, leading researcher in green exercise at the University of Essex, 88 per cent of people experienced an overall improvement in mood after exercising outdoors compared to 45 per cent of people whose mood worsened after exercising indoors.
Shock Absorber has partnered with Dr Jo Barton to identify the UK’s top ten inspirational green exercise hotspots, chosen for their balance of green space and water, stimulating views and proximity to wildlife.
- White Cliffs of Dover, England
- Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, England
- Lunan Bay & Red Head, Scotland
- Brecon Beacons, Wales
- Killarney National Park, Republic of Ireland
- Hampstead Heath, England
- Loch Tay, Scotland
- Downhill, Northern Ireland
- Forest of Dean
- Powis Castle, Welshpool, Wales
Dr Barton comments, “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.”
The study showed running (48 per cent) and cycling (26 per cent) were the most popular outdoor activities but newer fitness trends such as Buggy Fit and British Military Fitness are helping to drive the uptake of green exercise with almost one in 10 (eight per cent) taking part in each.
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.
Shock Absorber’s Kirsty Kothakota comments, “Many women have their favourite exercise location which gives their workout that extra boost.
The aim of our ‘#Get Out There’ campaign is to provide a nationwide picture of inspirational and accessible green exercise places.
Research shows participants work harder when exercising outdoors so it is important women wear the right sports bra. A Shock Absorber sports bra will give them the support they need, helping to further boost performance and confidence”.
You can view further inspirational locations and participate in the campaign by visiting getoutthere.shockabsorber.co.uk.
The Women’s Sports Magazine