Seven Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Fit & Healthy for Spring by Hannah Gunn
Strange things are happening across the country, the temperature has risen above 5 degrees, the population can feel its toes for the first time since November and daffodils are springing up on every available patch of grass, this can only mean one thing – Spring has sprung.
Squirrels are stirring, grizzlies are groaning and bees are beginning to buzz. Just like our little animal friends, it’s time for us humans to emerge from winter hibernation, leave behind our cosy duvet nests and embrace the great outdoors. Here are seven of the best ways to get out there, get healthy and make the most of this Spring.
Along with a handy guide to your spirit animal for each activity.
Less dangerous and less expensive than rock climbing, Bouldering (scaling a large rock with no ropes) is an amazing way to get outside and get in shape for free. Not only is it good for strengthening and toning every muscle group in the body, working out how to climb a boulder involves a great deal of problem solving – so it will keep your mind active too.
To get the most out of your fitness regime, freeing your mind from distraction and keeping it engaged in what you’re doing is just as important as being physically fit and surely there can be no better time to focus your brain on the task at hand than when hanging from a large rock with no rope, working out how to make your next move, without falling to your death – slight exaggeration the rocks are quite small and you should really have a crash mat in case you fall off. You won’t die.
Spirit animal: Sloth or Squirrel- you choose a pace and difficulty level which suits you.
Where: Cunningar Loop in Dalmarnock has man-made boulders of different shapes and sizes to suit a rage of different skill levels, or try Craigmaddie Boulders – a real crag just outside Milngavie, for a more authentic experience.
Running, not a particularly exciting concept to most of us, unless you’re one of the lucky people who experience ‘runners high’ – a state of euphoria which is achieved during strenuous running. For the vast majority who don’t experience this though, ‘euphoric’ isn’t exactly the first word that springs to mind when we think of running – the word ‘stitch’ is probably more accurate, closely followed by the word ‘sweaty’.
Charity Miles is an app which makes the challenging pursuit of a runners high more rewarding by donating a few pence to charity for every mile you run – or walk, or saunter, or just, well… move. The app is a great way to motivate yourself to get outdoors and make every bit of exercise you do count. Just download it, choose a charity and how much you want to donate per mile, then watch your miles go up and your balance come down – don’t worry, you won’t go bankrupt any time soon, the maximum you can donate is 20p per mile.
Spirit animal: Snail – Minimum effort required. This app proudly advertises that you can accrue miles while ‘going to grab a coffee.’
Where: Literally anywhere, run in a circle around your living room or for a more scenic route, why not try a run around the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow’s West End?
Geocaching has been around since the dawn of Sat Navs and GPS tracking and yet remains relatively unheard of – so far it seems to have been adopted mainly by ‘middle-aged uncle who wears an excess of khaki and fleece’ types – which is strange because it sounds like it might be the most exciting activity of our generation. A giant, worldwide treasure hunt.
The concept is similar to Pokémon Go in that you use your phone to navigate to certain locations, only instead of finding another Rattata, you’ll find a box which contains actual tangible objects left by others, called ‘Geocach’.
Geocaching is great for your general mental and physical health, it also encourages getting out and exploring – whether you do it in your local area, or further afield, you’re sure to see some beautiful places on your quest to find Geocach. Plus there’s always the exciting chance that perhaps Warren Buffet visited the spot before you and generously left some of his billions in there.
Spirit animal: Pigeon – stamina to travel long distance and some sense of direction required.
Where: Any one of the 2.8 million Geocaching locations in 180 countries, the app will show you which ones are closest to you.
If you don’t know someone who has taken part in ‘Tough Mudder’ over the last few years, chances are you’ve been living in a cave, it seems like no newsfeed has escaped being constantly swamped with images of people covered in mud, looking cold, wet and…wait a second are they happy? Yep, instead of sporting the grimace that you might expect to see on the face of a person whose just spent several hours crawling through mud, scaling giant walls and jumping into freezing water, smiles are spread across the competitors faces as they reach a goal they’ve trained for months to achieve. It’s the great sense of achievement in achieving a set goals which has caused a spike in the popularity of Adventure Racing of late.
Tough Mudder is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Adventure Racing is concerned though, Scotland has no shortage of races to take part in – its landscape means its home to some of the most challenging courses in the UK. The most important aspect of this kind of sport is the training though, in most cases you will have to train for a few months in order to learn the multiple skills you’ll need to take part – so get climbing, running and practising your pose for all those photo’s you’ll be putting on Facebook.
Spirit animal: Pig – be prepared to get muddy
Where: Redbull Neptune Steps at Maryhill Locks, Mighty Deerstalker on the Borders or Celtman in Wester Ross to name a few!
Kayaking and other water sports have become a lot more accessible to us Glaswegians lately, thanks to the opening of Pinkston Water sports centre, a clean, man-made white water course only five minutes from the city centre- if you’re more of a water baby than a land lover, this might be a fun way to get in shape.
Kayaking is ideal for adrenaline junkies- exciting and unpredictable, one minute you’ll be relaxing and perfecting your stroke and the next you’ll be thrown down some rapids, but hopefully since the course at Pinkston is man-made there won’t be too many surprises. Ideal for working on core strength and keeping your thrill levels turned up to eleven.
Spirit animal: Crocodile – fairly leisurely and relaxed most of the time but be prepared to spring into action if you have to.
Where: Pinkston Water Sports run open sessions on Monday nights and Saturday afternoons from March until October. £7.50 for one hour.
VIRTUAL REALITY CYCLING
Yes, in an ideal world (and in a lot of other countries) the sun shines constantly from March until October and everyone can run around gleefully in their flip-flops and sunglasses, but this is Glasgow and we’re kidding ourselves if we think we’ll be able to get outdoors every day this summer. Here’s a way to get outdoors whilst you’re indoors- Virtual Reality cycling, which makes for an excellent fat-burning, cardio workout.
‘Virzoom’ are a software company who make specialised exercise bikes and games which are compatible with most VR headsets. Truly bringing exercise into the future. You can choose to be anything from a tank commander to a run of the mill cyclist in the Virzoom game and you can either compete with random players in races, or just try to beat your best times.
Spirit animal: Hamster – be prepared to do a whole lot of exercise without going anywhere.
Where: Wherever you dream of, but in reality you’re still just a weirdo pretending to be a tank commander on a small exercise bike in their living room.
Did you spend the majority of your childhood showcasing rubbish cartwheels and handstands to uninterested family members? If you answered yes, maybe it’s time to learn some real skills and show those haters (your gran) whose boss. It’s never too late to become the acrobat you always imagined that you were, and it’s never been easier – Aerial Edge is now open in Glasgow and runs various circus based classes in everything from flying trapeze to handstands. They also run outdoor classes in things like Parkour during the summer.
This is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to get fit, not only will it do wonders for your self-confidence, it will also improve your strength and flexibility and as a bonus, you’ll finally be able to do an above par handstand.
Spirit animal: Chimpanzee – be carefree and let go of some inhibitions.
Where: Aerial Edge at The Briggait. On Wednesday evenings classes are only £5, remember to book online in advance.