Take your workout into the great outdoors with these nationwide groups and events
This summer is the perfect time to mix up your fitness routine and make the most of the country’s most beautiful outdoor spots. From tag rugby on the common to swim sessions at the local lido, we’ve found the best alfresco workouts for everyone across the country.
1. For a heart-pumping new sport try: Tag Rugby
Why: Tag Rugby is known for its fun, social side and anyone can join in on the action. It’s a minimal contact game with Velcro tags that defenders attempt to pull from the attackers’ shorts, making it a great cardio exercise. Try it out with a free taster session.
Where: London, Reading, Yorkshire and Manchester.
Cost: From £30 for seven to nine games.
2. For an alfresco dip try: The Outdoor Swimming Society
Why: If you love swimming, try doing it outside this summer. The Outdoor Swimming Society has created a map of tried-and-tested safe ‘wild swimming’ spots in the UK, including lakes, rivers, lidos and even hot springs. If you’ve never tried it before, they have everything you need to know for your first swim. Or book into an organised swim event, including Friday night swims in Reading and weekend pier paddling in Brighton.
Where: Check out the location map.
Cost: Free, with ticketed events.
3. For fun 5k runs try: parkrun
Why: Whether you’re new to running or you regularly pound the pavements, parkrun hosts free 5k timed runs every Saturday in parks and green spaces across the UK. All ages, dogs and buggies are welcome and the finish line celebration at the end is the ultimate motivation to keep challenging yourself.
Where: All across the country – visit the website to find your nearest one.
Vitality members can earn 10 points for taking part each week, helping to contribute to the 40 Vitality points members can earn each week for getting active.
4. For free tennis lessons try: Tennis For Free
Why: Feeling inspired by Wimbledon? This national charity runs free weekend tennis sessions, including coaching and equipment. Each lesson is two hours long and provides a great workout as well as helping you to harness your skills. Ideal for keeping the family entertained throughout the summer holidays.
Where: In nearly 40 parks across the UK – check out your nearest one.
5. For a full-body workout try: British Military Fitness
Why: Want to take your workout to the next level? Head to your local park and try a bootcamp class run by military trained instructors. Sessions are fun and challenging – not intimidating – and your first taster session is free. Classes are for everyone from beginners to pros and they’re packed with bodyweight exercises and competitive games, meaning you can burn up to 640 calories per session.
Where: There are more than 400 classes throughout the UK – find your local one.
Cost: From £38 per month (1 session per week), or you can book in session blocks.
6. For an different gym workout try: The Great Outdoor Gym Company
Why: With all the familiar equipment you’d find in the gym – from cross trainers to chest press machines – The Great Outdoor Gym Company has created 500 free-to-use gyms in parks across the UK. Go along with with your friends and family or schedule solo trips to your nearest ones to get your exercise fix under blue skies. Visit the site for how-to videos to get you started.
Where: Find your nearest location.
7. For free, unique fitness classes try: ParkLives
Why: ParkLives offers free outdoor activities in 130 different locations, from tai chi in Birmingham Country Park to beach bootcamps in Swansea. Local councils and sports club have joined to offer everyone an easy, free way to pack more exercise in.
Where: Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton, Swansea – find your nearest activity here.
8. For a workout with a conscience try: Good Gym
Why: Good Gym is a not-for-profit organisation that encourages people to mix running with doing something good for the local community. Simply type in your postcode to find your nearest group run or mission (a one-off task), from running to helping to tidy up your community garden, to painting a local youth centre or keeping an isolated older person company.
Where: There are currently 33 running areas in the country, with 72 more coming soon.
Cost: Free, though a £9.95 monthly donation is recommended.
9. For extra cycling motivation try: UKCyclingEvents
Why: Whether you’re looking for a fun cycling event to train for or just want to explore a new route, this summer UKCyclingEvents is encouraging everyone to #GetOutAndRide. They’re hosting more than 70 sportive events and 200 group rides from the picturesque New Forest to the North Yorkshire Dales. Check out their expert sportive training videos for everyone from beginner riders to active cyclists to give you the edge.
Where: Search the website for upcoming events.
Cost: Dependent on event.
10. For free exercise classes in London try: OurParks
Why: This is a great way for anyone London-based to get fit for free. Choose from lighter workouts such as buggy and family fit, yoga and tots tennis to more intense classes, including box fit, street dance and skatercise. Each one lasts an hour and you can easily book classes online.
Where: Across London’s main parks – click here to find a class.
There’s no excuse not to head out there, have fun and get moving in the sunshine!
Already a gym member and want to add a new class to your routine? Get clued up with our 5 new fitness classes tried and tested.