Being active doesn't have to be a chore and it doesn't have to mean slogging it out at the gym every night. With the right mindset, clothing, and imagination, being active can happen all day long at any opportunity.
1. Find transitional clothing to be all day active
A pair of jeans or set of high heels will prevent you from being active throughout the day. Finding activewear that is smart and stylish enough to be worn in the office that still functions during your workout can be tough, but Sundried’s Ortler trousers tick all the boxes. Inspired by cycling and working in the city, the Ortler trouser fuses tailoring with function. Smart enough to wear in the office but functional enough to remain all day active. Find clothes that offer a flexible fit to allow exercise to flow seamlessly into your daily routine.
2. Maximise your lunch break
Instead of working through lunch or sitting in the break room, take this opportunity to have a brisk walk. You get a 60-minute break per day, which means you could even squeeze in a 5k run with enough time to change and eat your lunch before returning to work. With the right smart activewear, you won't need to worry about getting sweaty, and if you take your trainers to work with you, it'll be seamless! Sundried's Dom Polo is super smart and wouldn't look out of place in the workplace. The breathable, sweat-wicking materials mean you'll stay cool and comfortable all day, even if you're getting active.
3. Be all day active at home
After a long day at the office, it can be challenging to find the motivation to stay active at home, but it's easier than you think! Make small changes like getting up earlier to squeeze in a quick run or cycle or get up and do quick exercises during the ad break while you're watching TV. If you don't work in an office or you work from home, try incorporating your daily tasks into your workout routine.
4. Be all day active in the office
- Always take the stairs, you know lift phobias exist because people are afraid of being lazy taking the lift right? Seriously.
- Don't phone/email colleagues in the same office, get up and go and speak to them.
- Go for a walk at lunch time, the fresh air will do you good. Ask a colleague to join you and enjoy the break.
- Cancel your sandwich delivery and walk to the local shop instead.
- Always take phone calls standing, it generates more energy in your body and voice, making a more successful call as well as keeping you active.
- Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach oft-used files, the telephone, or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.
Training outdoors has a host of benefits, but it can be hard to get motivated to train outdoors, especially in winter. So why should we do it?
What are the benefits of training outdoors?
Outdoor training increases endorphins
Did you know that the word 'endorphin' is actually a made-up word combining the terms 'endogenous' and 'morphine'? If something is endogenous, that simply means it was made within the body. So, endorphins are basically a type of morphine made by our body. That explains why they make us feel so good!
Endorphins are natural pain-relievers and make us feel happy, just like morphine. Training outdoors has been associated with higher levels of these 'feel good' chemicals being produced in the body. According to a study published in The Environmental Science & Technology Journal, just 5 minutes spent exercising outside in an open green space is enough to significantly lift your mood.
You burn more calories training outside
When you train in a gym or run on a treadmill, your body doesn't have to combat the elements. The surfaces are smooth and man-made and you don't need to work as hard to battle them. When training outside, you have the added elements of wind-resistance and heat from the sun, as well as uneven terrain to keep you on your toes. Research says you can burn up to 10% more calories than your regular gym session.
If it is particularly cold, simply layer up with a base layer and a pair of men's running leggings to keep you warm and toasty for your training session!
High oxygen levels improve almost every chemical reaction within your body. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. “Nature is fuel for the soul, “ says Richard Ryan, Researcher and Professor of at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energised is to connect with nature.”
Outdoor training can improve bone density
The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. In fact, there is a type of vitamin D that we can only get through sunlight and cannot be produced by the body or absorbed through food. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb calcium and it also improves your mood. Lack of vitamin D is one reason so many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter.
According to the National Osteoporosis Society recommendations, we should try to get at least 10 minutes of sun exposure to bare skin once or twice a day. Even if it’s cloudy, your body can still get vitamin D from sunlight; it just takes a little longer.
Exercising outdoors saves money
By training outdoors you are enabling yourself to train for free. You don't need expensive equipment in order to do a good workout, in fact, you don't need any equipment at all! Simply use park benches, trees, and other natural things in order to complete your workout. Just make sure you have the right fitness clothing so that you're comfortable and protected against the elements.
Any hayfever sufferer will know how miserable it can be to try heading outside in the summer only to be brought down by coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. We give you our top tips so that you can enjoy the benefits of exercising outdoors even when the pollen count is high.
Related: Best Relief For Hayfever Symptoms
1. Have a shower and get changed as soon as you finish your workout
Pollen and other allergens which may set off your hayfever can stick to skin and clothes. By showering and washing your clothes as soon as you finish your workout, you reduce the risk of these allergens prompting your symptoms. This does mean no more coffee with friends after a class, but you'll thank us!
2. Don't dry your workout clothes outside
As mentioned above, pollen and hayfever-inducing allergens can stick to clothes, so if you leave your fitness clothing outside to dry it will likely pick up these allergens and cause your hayfever to flare up. At Sundried, we always try to promote the idea of 'wash cool, sun dry' to protect your activewear as well as the environment, but in the summer, an airing cupboard or hanger may be better.
3. Exercise late morning or late evening
Pollen counts tend to highest in the early morning and early evening, so try to avoid exercising outside at these times as much as possible. If you really want to train outdoors during the summer, exercising late in the evening is usually better anyway as it is not so hot!
4. Wear wrap-around sunglasses
It can be very uncomfortable having itchy, watering eyes caused by hayfever and other seasonal allergies. By wearing wrap-around sunglasses, you can help to prevent as much pollen getting into your eyes and this should help to reduce the symptoms.
5. Exercise on the beach or in a paved area
As is expected, a grassy area like a park will be the worst for causing your symptoms to flare up. Especially if the grass has just been cut, you want to avoid doing your HIIT workout or sprint intervals here. Try doing a beach workout instead, especially as this comes with its own benefits, or find a paved area that is suitable.
Barefoot running is taking the fitness world by storm as the latest trend. But what exactly is it? Should you be doing it? We answer all of your questions.
What is barefoot running?
Barefoot running is exactly as simple as it sounds: running without shoes. However, our modern bodies have become accustomed to wearing shoes or at least some form of protection on our feet and so this isn't really an option for many people. However, barefoot-style running is the trend we are seeing and is where the running shoes have been designed to mimic running barefoot, while still offering protection from dirt and sharp objects that may cause an injury.
You may well have seen people wearing barefoot running shoes, such as the Vibram FiveFingers shoes which have five separate compartments for your five toes or the Sundried barefoot shoes. They are designed to be as minimalistic as possible and to imitate running barefoot as much as possible.
Barefoot Running In History
Running barefoot is to run as nature intended and people have been running barefoot for millennia. Historians believe the runners and messengers in Ancient Greece ran barefoot and legend has it that Pheidippides, the first marathoner, ran from Athens to Sparta in less than 36 hours. After the Battle of Marathon, it is said he ran straight from the battlefield to Athens to inform the Athenians of the Greek victory over Persia, all barefoot.
At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila ran the marathon barefoot as the Olympic shoe supplier had run out of shoes in his size, winning the race and setting a world record in the process.
Shivnath Singh was one of India’s greatest distance runners and would only ever run barefoot with tape on his feet. He placed 11th in the men's marathon event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
South African Zola Budd was famed in the 1980s for her barefoot racing and she won the 1985 and 1986 World Cross Country Championships. She found international fame at the 1984 Olympics after a drama-filled 3000m final, which she ran barefoot.
Today, barefoot running is gaining more and more momentum. Organisers of the 2010 New York City Marathon saw an increase in the number of barefoot runners participating in the event.
But why the increase in barefoot running? Does it have the benefits that people claim?
Barefoot Running Benefits
It promotes natural movement
Wearing shoes prevents your body from getting natural feedback from the ground. As you feel the ground, you learn to walk lighter and strike with the balls rather than heels of your feet, which can drastically decrease the impact on your muscles and joints. Impact in a running shoe is the equivalent of 12 times your body weight with every step.
It helps to heal previous injuries
A lot of people don’t run due to prior injuries. Bad knees, shin splints, or even weak ankles can be relieved through barefoot running. By running with a forefront strike, the Achilles is strengthened and stretched along with the calf muscle which may reduce injuries, such as calf strains or Achilles tendinitis.
Running barefoot uses less energy
Running barefoot or in minimal footwear (usually lighter than traditional running shoes) means that there is less mass to accelerate at the end of the runner's leg with each stride. Running barefoot has been shown to use about 5% less energy than shod running. (Divert et al., 2005; Squadrone and Gallozzi, 2009).
Increased muscle tone
Running without the support of a cushioned trainer sole forces you to engage more of you leg muscles, particularly the calves. But it doesn’t just increase muscle development in your legs, running barefoot increases the level of effort you supply throughout the kinetic chain, so you’ll end up leaner in other places too.
Running with a barefoot style. At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve fallen over. At some point on a run, I’m sure you’ve thought “where did that rock come from?” moments after you’ve tripped. Barefoot running allows you to feel the ground better, improving your proprioception and making you more aware of your environment.
Running barefoot forces you to switch on previously disengaged muscles and reverses you back to how you would walk and move as a child. By gradually reverting back into barefoot running or walking you strengthen every muscle in your feet and lower legs.
Reconnect with the earth
Some people believe that by running barefoot they become more “at one” with nature.
Downsides to running barefoot
Slow adaptation phase
Many people try a barefoot run, ache after and decide never to run in the minimalist shoes again. But why? Aches are an inevitable part of any new footwear, remember how you wear your new heels in, practice walking in them? It’s only the same as with any new pair of trainers, or any new training regime. Initially when starting a new barefoot running regime you should start with short distances and gradually build up a tolerance. Embrace the aches and know that it’s improving your technique in the long run.
Lack of protection
Trainers are now designed with technical features to protect your foot from injury, as well as keep your feet dry, maintain their temperature and make sure nothing sharp such as rocks, stones or debris has access to your foot.
It is inevitable that almost everyone who switches to barefoot or a minimal shoe will find themselves dealing with blisters for the first few weeks until calluses are formed. Whilst this can be frustrating, investing in the correct socks and some gel blister plasters can make all the difference.
Barefoot creates extra pressure
Running shoes also partially absorb the extra pressures created by foot misalignment (for example, highly arched feet). Without the absorption, higher pressure can be a direct cause of pain, which can cause a protective adjustment in technique that in turn could lead to injury.
You can only run in good conditions (which in the UK, are few and far between)
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine warns against barefoot running in all but ideal conditions, saying that on soft or slippery surfaces, shoes are required for traction, otherwise you are prone to Achilles or plantar fascia problems (ligament inflammation along the base of the foot).
Tips for going barefoot
- Running barefoot can make your calves tight and tire your feet to start with, since you're firing up muscles you’ve barely used since childhood. Foam roll your calves to help increases recovery.
- Start trying to walk without shoes or in barefoot shoes more. Try at least 30 minutes of barefoot walking a day to allow the muscles and ligaments to adapt before you start venturing on a run.
- Spend some time walking on the balls of your feet (tip toes) to strengthen the foot and ankle.
- Progress to jogging, then gradually increase time and intensity.
- Stick to smooth ground when you first start running and steer clear of trail runs until you have built up a little more resistance.
Adventure racing is gaining popularity among active people as a new way of testing yourself over multiple disciplines and terrains. We take a look at exactly what adventure racing is and why it's something you should try.
What is adventure racing?
Adventure racing is where outdoor sports meets orienteering.
Adventure racing is a multi-discipline sport which often takes the form of running, cycling, and kayaking however it can also involve other outdoor adventure sports such as horse riding, skiing, abseiling, white water rafting, and climbing.
Adventure racing can be done solo in some instances but is usually done as a team and involves not only the physical aspect but also the competitive aspect of having to navigate an unmarked wilderness route while searching for checkpoints. Races can last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks depending upon the type of event.
What are the rules?
The biggest and most obvious rule is that you are not allowed to utilise any form of motorised travel, so no cars or motorbikes. If you get stuck and need to be picked up, that's your race over. Another rule in team adventure racing is that the team must stay together at all times, usually within 50m of one another. For example, if you spot a checkpoint but your teammates are lagging behind, you can't sprint off to go and get it, you must wait for your team. This is the heart of the adventure racing ethos.
Teams are not allowed any outside assistance, however it is actively encouraged to assist other teams if you see them struggling or in obvious danger. Finally, you must carry all your gear yourself and be fully self-sufficient for the entirety of the race.
Who can do adventure racing? Adventure racing for beginners
Anyone can have a go at adventure racing! If you have a love of the outdoors and want to explore, then adventure racing is for you. You don't need to be proficient at reading a map but you will need to navigate for yourself during the race. You do need to have a love of trying something new and getting out there but you don't necessarily need to be super fit and athletic to manage it.
Many event organisers partner up with bike and kayak hire companies so you don't even need to have your own mountain bike or paddle boat to take part. You can hire the equipment you need and pick up and drop back off at the event location.
Why do adventure racing?
If you have already tried your hand at sports like triathlon, trail running, mountain biking, or orienteering, you would love the challenge that adventure racing brings. If you feel uninspired by your surroundings, seek adventure, or just want an awesome story to tell in the office on Monday morning, then adventure racing is for you.
Adventure racing will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world and is a great way to get outdoors into nature and help you make the most of your time there. It will develop your team-work skills as well as essential survival skills such as map-reading and wilderness navigation. Not only this, the feeling of accomplishment is like no other and you are sure to have a ton of fun!
Where to begin with adventure racing – next steps
Once you've decided that adventure racing sounds like an awesome day out, it's time to sign up for a race and do some training! Some of the best events in the UK are organised by Questars who host events in areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Chilterns and the New Forest. There are also plenty of awesome adventure racing events in the US.
In order to train for an adventure race, you will want to make sure your fitness is at a good level and that you can run and bike for extended periods of time. Not only this, you will need to make sure you are competent carrying a heavy load as you need to carry all your own equipment and it would help to have some navigation skills – although not completely essential as many first-timers just get stuck in and see what happens.
So why not sign up for a race and get out there? It could be the best thing you ever do!