Top 7 group outdoor exercise classes

October 26th, 2017 - By gshorter
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With the clocks going back this weekend, many of you may find it difficult to motivate yourselves to exercise in the evenings. Some of you may not feel safe exercising alone in the dark and others of you just need a little encouragement. Fortunately for those of you who enjoy the great outdoors and don’t want to be cooped up inside a gym, there are lots of outdoor group exercise classes available.

There are plenty of easily accessible gyms but nothing quite beats the great outdoors. Whilst any form of exercise is good for your health, exercising outdoors has been shown to be potentially more beneficial than exercising inside. It’s been shown to improve mood and self-esteem to a greater extent which is potentially due to the positive impact of the natural environment. 1 Individuals exercising outdoors have also shown to exert less effort compared to doing the same exercise inside and can therefore work harder. 2

The outdoors also offers its own gym equipment such as benches and trees, and its own natural resistance such as the wind and uneven terrain.

From British Military Fitness classes to Sweatshop Community Runs, I’ve put together my top list of outdoor group exercising classes including free classes and ones that require a monthly membership.

1. RunTogether

RunTogether was created by England Athletics to provide fun, friendly, supportive and inclusive running opportunities for everyone in England. Thousands of RunTogether groups operate all over England including Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, London, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham and Plymouth. Group runs are led by qualified leaders and cater for all abilities including beginners, occasional joggers and experienced runners. Sessions take place morning, noon and night, seven days a week.

Costs: most sessions are free but some group leaders may charge a small fee.

Visit the website here.

2. Sweatshop Community Runs

Sweatshop is the UK’s largest specialist running retailer and from all of their stores across the country they offer free weekly 5km runs. Every run includes a mapped out local running route, a qualified running leader and a back marker pacer so no one gets left behind. The more you go the more freebies you get, such as a t-shirt, nutrition pack, foam roller and running shoes. Their mission is to help runners be the best that they can be and to realise how much fun running can be whilst supporting you on the way.

Cost: free

Visit the website here.

3. Parkrun UK

Parkrun organises free weekly 5km timed runs across the country. The runs take place every Saturday in local parks and they encourage people of all abilities to take part. All you need to do is register online and print your timing chip. Your timings will be logged online so you can track your progress. They aim to offer an event in every community that wants one, so if you haven’t got one in your area yet, then follow the link below to find out how you can start your own park run.

Cost: free

Visit the website here.

4. British Military Fitness

British Military Fitness (BMF) is the original outdoor bootcamp and the largest in the country. It was founded in 1999 as an alternative form of group fitness training to gyms. Their aim is to get people of all fitness abilities training in parks with motivation from military trained instructors. Participants are divided into three ability groups and very little equipment is required other than body weight to perform a wide range of speed, strength, agility and stamina exercises. Their intention is not for it to be an intimidating, hard boot camp, but a fun and effective form of training.

BMF is definitely my favourite, I’ve been training with them for the past few years and I couldn’t think of a better way to workout (especially in the summer). The classes are designed to not only improve your strength but also your running, and are a great way to meet new people and motivate yourself to work out.

You can try a free class today.

Cost: monthly membership.

Visit the website here.

5. London stores

For anyone living in London, stores such as Nike and Runners Needs organise weekly group runs.

Nike offers a variety of different run sessions including women-only, beginners, 5-10km social groups, speed, strength training and high-intensity interval workouts. Sessions are led by experienced pacesetters and depart from Niketown in Oxford Circus, Covent Garden, Kings Road, Westfield Stratford and White City stores.

Cost: free

Visit the website here.

Seven of the Runners Needs stores across London offer free run clubs including King’s Cross, Canary Wharf, Clapham Junction, Southwark Bridge, Camden, Stripe St and Waterloo Bridge. Some sessions are in the mornings, lunchtimes or evenings, so you should be able to fit one in around other commitments. Runs vary from 5km and include a 7am Friday morning hill session. You can collect weekly stamps and earn exclusive rewards such as a Just Run t-shirt and money to spend in store.

Cost: free

Visit the website here.

6. Good gym

Fancy getting fit by doing good? Well Good Gym’s got you covered. Good Gym is a group of runners that combine regular exercise with helping local communities. They arose out of frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential. The runs are divided into 3 groups including Mission Runs which are designed to help out older people such as changing lightbulbs, Coach Runs which include making social visits to isolated older people and Group Runs which involve running in groups to do physical tasks for community organisations.

Group Runs generally take place within 90 minutes and include a 5km run and a project such as planting trees for local parks, shifting earth for a community garden or sorting cans for a food bank. They operate in 38 areas across the UK from Barnet to York.

Cost: free.

Visit the website here.

7. UK Outdoor Fitness

UK Outdoor Fitness organise both outdoor and indoor boot camps all over Yorkshire, with locations in Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Harrogate and York. Sessions are designed to be fun and varied, including cardio and resistance exercises that work all muscle groups, such as team games, races, pair work, power walking, jogging and sprinting. They pride themselves on the fact that you never know what sessions is going to come next.

Cost: small fee however the more you go the lower the cost price per class.

Visit the website here.

Speak again soon,

Gemma, The Food Doctor nutritionist

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