With confirmed cases of coronavirus cases being reported all over the world daily, and deaths attributed to the virus increasing, we find ourselves in uncharted water. The WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In the UK employers are asking non-key workers to work from home where possible and all but essential trips out of the home are now forbidden. Bars, restaurants, sports facilities and parks have closed, and at the end of last week, the government declared that schools would be closed to all children except those of keyworkers and vulnerable children including those with EHCPs. As we move into spring and the weather, hopefully, improves, this means that parents will be looking for something to do with their children in order to burn off all that excess energy from being cooped up away from their friends. Exercise is still so important, even more so in these strange times, and for those people who can exercise in the current circumstances, this is best achieved at home. So, if you are fortunate enough to have a garden here are some ways to utilise it.
How can you exercise in the garden?
The garden makes an excellent place to exercise. Not only is it free, but there is plenty of fresh air as well. While many people think of exercise as being something that you might need special equipment for, the good news is that there is actually plenty of things that you can do in your garden that don’t need any special equipment. General garden tasks are an excellent example of this. If you think about mowing a lawn, especially a large one, then you are walking backwards and forwards a lot, and then, of course, there is the lifting involved in emptying the grass out. Digging flowerbeds is also great exercise and when you combine it with picking up weeds means you are squatting and bending as well. Remember, exercise is about working different parts of the body, and getting your garden summer ready after a long winter could certainly count as a workout.
Cleaning the outside of your windows and your ledges, especially if it involves climbing a ladder is a great way to exercise outside as well. If you really just want to move your gym session outdoors then why not consider things like lunges, bicycles, jumping jacks, press-ups, burpees or even crunches. If you can do it in a gym without any special equipment, then you can probably do it in your garden as well. The same could be said for that weekly Pilates session. Move it outside and commune with nature at the same time. Being in the garden will really give you a chance to be at one with nature.
If you prefer something a little more strenuous or challenging, then why not contemplate moving your yoga session into the garden, the natural surroundings make it the perfect place for yoga. Any exercise routine with jumping jacks, press-ups and burpees, or other aerobic exercises can be done in your garden just as easily as it can indoors. Strength training can also be incorporated quite easily, walking lunges is one great exercise that you can incorporate, along with wall sits and press ups and your garden furniture can double up for exercises such as tricep dips too. In fact, once you move outside for your exercise, then you may be reluctant to move back indoors, and who could blame you? Of course, the British weather might have other ideas.
Equipment based exercise
Natural outdoor gym equipment offers a great way to get a workout in the garden without really noticing that you are doing exercise. Children love monkey bars, and don’t tell anyone, but plenty of adults do as well! They offer a really great way to improve coordination and upper body strength, and they are great fun too. If you don’t want to swing from one bar to another, which is harder then it looks, then they can work really well for pull-ups or chin-ups as well. Getting outside with the kids is something that many of us will be looking to do while we’re ‘on lockdown’ and many pieces of outdoor play equipment can double up as workout equipment for you too!
Wooden outdoor play equipment comes in a variety of different forms, so if you were thinking the choice is limited to swings and slides, then you would be wrong. A good quality garden trampoline is not only fun for the whole family but a great way to exercise outdoors. It is a workout for both the arms and legs, and once you get the hang of using it, it can also be useful for the core muscles too.
Monkey bars are, in fact, the perfect CrossFit solution that could fit perfectly into your garden and your exercise regime. If you don’t have children but would like to mimic the workout from a monkey bar workout, a pull-up bar, combined with a squat station could be the perfect solution. Exercising outdoors doesn’t mean you have to drag your weights bench outside, either. You could have a range of wooden outdoor gym equipment to suit your specific workout needs. From sit up benches to dip bars, natural gym equipment made from solid wood and stainless steel could be the durable (and beautiful) solution to getting just what you need for your workout in the great outdoors.
No one knows just how long this pandemic will last for, but one thing is very clear – as our movements become increasingly limited we need to find other ways in which we can exercise, especially if exercising is already an important part of our day to day routine. For many of us that might mean moving outdoors, especially as the weather improves, and using the space that we have. This might simply mean moving your current aerobic exercise routine outdoors, or it might mean creating a new routine that will incorporate the use of natural outdoor gym equipment. Whichever way you choose to move forward a good exercise routine will not only help to keep you healthy but can also assist in maintaining a sense of wellbeing; something that will be very important in the coming weeks and maybe months. Who knows – exercising in the garden could soon be a habit that we choose to keep up in the long run, making it an excellent hobby for years after this period of uncertainty. The NHS also have a helpful guide to home fitness that can pretty much be performed anywhere.