Spring is a great time of year to get outside and moving. The weather is almost perfect - not too hot yet but nice enough to want to be out and about in the mornings and evenings.
The only thing that throws a spanner in the works for me is the daylight savings change.
I am an early-morning exerciser, so the past week has been a struggle as I have tried to readjust the body clock.
That and school holidays combined threw my usual fitness program into disarray and I am planning a reset this week when things go back to a bit of normality.
I am also planning to make the most of the warmer weather by taking all of my fitness sessions outdoors. That means leaving a few dumbbells and a skipping rope in the car and setting aside 30 minutes a few days a week to hit parks closeby for some workouts in the great outdoors.
If you live in a place where there is outdoor equipment to use, then that could be an option too.
University of Newcastle physical activity researchers are recruiting for a trial that blends smartphone technology with park-based fitness facilities to encourage community exercise in the great outdoors.
The 'ecofit' study involves aerobic and resistance (weight-bearing) training for a full-body workout that is fast, fun and free for anyone aged 18 to 80 who is not meeting physical activity guidelines.
In partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council and Newcastle City Council, a purpose-built app guides participants through correct usage of outdoor gym equipment located in 14 public parks and trails.
Professor Ron Plotnikoff, director of the UON's Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, said ecofit was designed for people who were not regular indoor gym goers.
"It's recommended that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise each week, which includes resistance training, yet some people are deterred by the cost of gym memberships, concerned about injury, or just feel intimidated walking into a gym," Professor Plotnikoff said.
"There were safety concerns in the wake of the initial COVID-19 outbreak - however, outdoor gyms are now safe to use, albeit we encourage participants to sanitise their hands after equipment use.
"Outdoor activity has lots of advantages, including being free of costs and highly social. Studies also show that it improves mental health and mood, perhaps even more than indoor exercise sessions."
Participants in ecofit will complete at least two self-guided sessions per week for 12 weeks, taking an estimated 30 minutes each. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts, depending upon fitness levels.
To find out more about being part of the study, email email@example.com.
3 x [10 squats, 10 step-ups, 10 push-ups, 10 pull-ups/bent-over rows, 10 triceps dips];
5 x [run/walk intervals, working harder for 30 seconds then easier for 30sec];
3 x [20 ab crunches, 10 glute bridge, 30sec plank hold].
- Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. firstname.lastname@example.org.