Create Your Own Urban Gym

Indoor gyms of course provide a lot of useful equipment for exercising with. However one of their down sides is that they can be expensive. But there is a free exercise environment available to everyone right outside your door. Apart from some standard, basic equipment (a decent pair of trainers for exercising –check out www.runnersneed.com or www.run-fast-retail.net and a t-shirt and shorts/leggings) and your body weight, the urban environment has the rest.

Of course it could be a simple as going for a fast walk or run and using your imagination as to where you go. Circuits along the Thames in Central London will give you something to look at while you run along, bridge selection depending on your desired distance. The Regent’s canal also offers a waterside running track with many areas busy enough to ensure safety but also quiet enough to be able to run relatively unrestricted. And there are plenty of Royal Parks and large commons across the capital.
But if you fancy some strength training then make use of the many sets of stairs all around. Modify a standard run with some stair repetitions half way along or run up and down every set of stairs you encounter. You could add in an element of change of direction on the stairs by zigzagging up them. Or convert the stairs into a power and agility trainer by jumping or hopping up and down them. Other strength and power drills easy to do on stairs are one legged stair dips and heel raises with straight knees over the edge of the bottom step. Sprinting up a set of stairs two steps at a time will not only burn the calories but work on your ability to generate acceleration and speed. Walk back down slowly for recovery before the next set.
Moving away from stairs to strength training for the upper body, benches or low walls/stone or brick objects come in useful. Modify press ups by either having your hands on the bench/low object and feet on the floor for those just starting to feet on the bench/low object with hands on the floor for the stronger person. Still using the bench/low object but this time facing away from it with hands on the bench/low object and feet planted on the floor so that you are in a sitting position but with your bum in the air, lower yourself down and back up using your arms. The further your feet from the bench/low object the harder it will be.
I could go on but you could also make use of inclines and declines for speed and control training, bollards, trees and other obstacles for agility training.
Although not urban, free running the above hopefully gives you an insight to how your local environment can keep you fit.
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