Making the most of the daylight hours
It’s not long until the clocks go back and we are plunged into long dark evenings. However, there are still a few days left before you have to abandon your evening runs and bike rides, so let’s take a look at a few outdoor exercises you can do while there is still enough light and warmish temperatures.
1 Set off on a long run.
There are runs and then there are hard-core runs. While your regular running route might be a five kilometre steady run around the streets of Cambridge, throwing the occasional long, off-road run into the mix can really boost your fitness levels. Two of the nicest places in the local area to run for any distance over a mix of surfaces are along the river Cam from Cambridge city centre towards Ely or around the grounds of Wimpole Hall. Check out local maps to plan your route.
The beauty of running off-road is the variation such a run can give to the muscles in your legs and feet. Changing surfaces, adding a little unevenness, can really stimulate the muscles and ligaments around the ankles. Equally, your entire body has to work just that little harder when you are running off road.Your muscles have to help you balance when you negotiate uneven surfaces and your legs will have to work harder to get push-off from sandy, gritty or gravelly surfaces. In addition, the change in scenery will provide you with fresh stimulus during your exercise session.
2 Do an outdoor circuit.
There is something just a little bit more challenging about doing a circuit outdoors. Whether it is the ‘back to nature’ aspect of jumping over logs or sprinting between trees or just the thrill of being outdoors in all weathers – an outdoor circuit can really tap into your inner-Bear Grylls.
Find an area where you can mark out your circuit – you might use props such as fallen logs, park benches or low-hanging branches. Then use your imagination to create a 10-12 station circuit based on the natural surroundings. See our earlier blog for ideas on exercises you can do.
3. Go for an off-road bike ride.
It’s not easy finding really good off-road cycle trails that can accommodate a range of bikes but if you head over to Thetford Forest a whole new cycling world opens up to you. Trails of all lengths and with different levels of technical difficulty wind through the beautiful forests. It is a 40 minute drive from Cambridge but if you get the chance to leave the office early, it is worth getting a few endorphins with a thrilling ride on the winding forest trails.
4. Exercise to the dawn chorus
You might be recovering from an injury so you can’t do manic workouts or you might find it impossible to get home from work before the daylight fades so how about a slightly gentler form of exercise at the other end of the day.
A power walk through the city in the early daylight hours is a really brilliant way to start the day. You burn calories, you get the blood pumping, you clear the mind so it is ready to face the day ahead and you see the city from a very different perspective. Cambridge is a busy city and you will rarely be completely alone, but early in the morning, you will see the city as it comes alive. Power your way along the river, over the city centre parks and through the historic streets. It is a great way to see the city in a new, early morning light.