Living in a big city can be exhilarating but finding time (and space) to exercise can be a challenge. Edinburgh comes in a number one in terms of the amount of green space, followed by Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham and London meaning that these cities provide urban dwellers with plenty of space to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. And, even if you live in an urban part of a UK city, there will still be lots of different workout options available, you just need to look for them.
Living in a city may give you the freedom to operate without a car and enjoy walks to the local high street, trendy restaurants and hip and happening theatres, but when you’re trying to find space to fit in a workout, navigating the city safely and affordably can be tricky. After all, you’re up against pollution, traffic, possible crime, uneven pavements, not to mention all the traffic and intersections that stop you multiple times mid-walk or, if you’re feeling ambitious run.
Below are six tips for getting the most out of the city you live in, understanding the possible risks associated with city exercising – no matter where you live in the UK, and using the surroundings to your workout’s advantage!
Use the green space available
This is an obvious one, but it’s too important to ignore. City parks are made for running and walking and the UK is lucky enough to boast a lot of green spaces even in the urbanist of areas. They’re usually free of traffic and noise, and many parks have better-quality paths and pavement than the streets do. Thanks to fewer cars and taxis and a higher density of trees and plants, these areas are also likely to have less pollution. This is especially important because exercise increases your breathing rate, making air quality that much more important. When you pay a visit to the local park take note of the fitness classes taking place there, from boot camps in London, to park yoga sessions in Leeds to pilates classes on Brighton beach, the activities are there you just need to look out for them. And when you do spot a class you think could interest you, enquire! You never know this could be the best thing you did if the people seem nice and the price is affordable.
Run, walk or jog on the pavement
While parks are great for getting some extra space, they can be overcrowded – especially on a sunny day when everyone and their dog are trying to catch a few rays. Why not opt to stray from the park on days likes these? This can give you some variety and a chance of pace (pun intended). Opt to run, jog or power walk through a residential area of town that has an interesting history or one that you find particularly charming or beautiful. Or if your sense of direction leaves a lot to be desired, why not choose a route you already know so you don’t have to worry about tracking and mapping your route before you set off.
Walk to work
Unless you work from home, you already have to commute to your job. So why not multitask with an active commute that doubles as a workout? Walking lends itself better to commuting since it won’t leave you as sweaty and out of breath for your day on the job, but running or biking can also work.