Sometimes we make New Years resolutions for ourselves that are reasonably attainable (ie. "I won't eat chocolate for the month of January"), to ones that are too far out of reach (ie. "I won't eat chocolate for an entire year!") The same goes for exercise goals, with most experts suggesting that smaller goals are much better for your motivation than out-of-reach goals. Smaller, more achievable goals to start off with could be to take the stairs at work, walk home once a week or get off the bus two stops early every afternoon. Once you get in a new routine, you can start to challenge yourself with other fun ways to stay active, each weekend.
The following list shows some interesting ways to stay fit and healthy in the great outdoors, around the Canberra region. They are all such fun, that it will (hopefully!) feel like it's not exercise at all and you will want to do it every weekend. Now, which one to try first...
Build your core strength on a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP). Image: The paddle HUB Facebook
1/ Hire a SUP or Kayak from The Paddle HUB (in summer only) on Lake Burley Griffin and work those core muscles and arms. Hire the equipment for half an hour to an hour and see which activity you enjoy the most. If you love it, why not invest in your own SUP or kayak and go out each weekend! See here for hire details.
2/ Rowing is another way to work the arms and get out on the water around the Capital, with rowing clubs on Lake Burley Griffin and Lake Tuggeranong. You are never too old to learn how to row and join a club for fun, or competition. See here for details. Also check out Dragon Boat clubs in the ACT, for more ideas and clubs.
3/ Learn to Sail at the Canberra Yacht Club and you will be out on the water and leading an active lifestyle - whilst having fun! Join an adult sailing class and move from Beginner to Learn to Race - and open up a whole new world of fitness, friends and fun. See here for details.
Learn something new at the Canberra Yacht Club. Image: CYC Facebook
4/ Walking is a good place to start when becoming more active, with a variety of scenic walks around the city and suburbs. Popular flat walks include the Lake Burley Griffin Central Loop, Western Loop and Eastern Loop.
5/ Hiking is a great way to get outdoors each weekend, with Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve right on our doorstep. If you prefer to stay local, explore the walks of the Canberra Nature Park which traverse the hilltops around the suburbs. See here for more ideas.
6/ Free Outdoor Fitness Stations can be found all across the ACT, with 20 stations set up in local parks and open spaces. The stations include sit-up benches, chin-up bars and balance beams. If you aren't sure how to use them check out the ACT Government website which has You Tube videos showing each of the fitness stations and how to use them. Who needs a gym membership, when these are free!
Outdoor fitness at Crace Recreation Park in Gungahlin. Ensure you watch the series of You Tube videos (see one below), for ways to make the most of each machine.
7/ Walk or Ride a Bike to Work is a good way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Canberra has some of the best bike paths in the country, so take advantage of the cycle ways and enjoy the views along the way. If you are lucky enough to have a shower at your workplace, then leave earlier and freshen up before you start work. See here for details.
8/ Mountain Bike Riding on the weekends is a popular past-time, with Stromlo Forest Park and Kowen Forest two trail areas to explore. If you don't have a mountain bike, see here for other bike riding options.
9/ Boot Camp is a way to get fit, meet new people and challenge your body and mind. These classes are run outdoors, so you can enjoy being out of the gym and exercising in fresh air. There are many places around the Capital who run boot camps, including Canberra Bootcamps - see here for details. We all want to be active for different reasons, the main hurdle is sticking to it...
10/ Surfing takes a little more effort to organise, seeing as we live 2 hours from the nearest beach, but how many times do you go on holidays to the coast each year? Next time, why not book in a surfing lesson or two, to have fun and stay active on holidays. If surfing isn't your thing, why not try SUP'ing, for a calmer way to stay active. See here for details (Batemans Bay).
11/ Seasonal Sports are a good way to meet new people, commit to a team and be actively moving, each weekend. Sports clubs include rugby, cricket, netball, hockey and lawn bowls. See here for a listing and here for details specifically relating to women in sport.
12/ Swimming is the ideal way to exercise, with little impact on the joints. There are adult swimming classes at most pools if you need to learn, or pay an entry fee and try to improve your lap fitness. See here for a listing of Canberra pools - with indoor and outdoor options.
Although many of these sports or venues are ideal for the warmer months, you can also enjoy most of them through the winter months. If however, you prefer to be inside as the temperature drops, check out the article Top 12 Indoor Exercise Venues in Canberra for some winter ideas. Which one(s) are you going to try this year?
Stay active on holidays too! Image: Surf The Bay Facebook