Top 10: London’s Best Outdoor Fitness ActivitiesBy Lucy Mansfield
From laughing yoga to outdoor swimming, the great outdoors invites us to breath in some fresh air and exude some energy in its midst. It’s good for you, you know – fresh air enhances serotonin production and changing scenery slows boredom, so the great outdoors really is the place for a workout this summer. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s our top 10 outdoor fitness activities in London this summer – time to get outside:
For: A daring dip in the Thames
The Lowdown: Believe it or not there are parts of the Thames where trolleys and cans don’t float by, and there are actually some quite nice spots to do some breaststroke. Join a white rubber hatted clan of fish-like humans and go for a FREE swim in the Thames. This is for the more serious swimmer as the tides can be quite strong so don’t think you’re coming just for a budgy smugglers oogle. If you’re up for the challenge – give it a go – the swimmers all hit the pub afterwards. You’ve gotta become a member first but it’s all free. Sign up here.
Why: This will gear you up to your dream of swimming the English Channel and you can pick up some good pub fodder along the way – how you survived a swim in the stinking Thames.
Details: There are varying times for swims as it depends on the tides. The next swim is August 23rd at 18.30. Meet at the Black Lion Pub in Hammersmith about 15 minutes before.
For: woodland laughter yoga (no joke)
The Lowdown: A unique kind of yoga has swept over london.. No other than laughing yoga. And no you won’t be laughing at men in leggings. Take part in the holistic workshop and you will laugh your socks off in nature. This holistic health programme focusses on laughter as a tool to relieve stress and anxiety. If you don’t fancy the laughter yoga, bathe in a laughter gong or try a meditation workshop.
Why: It has been proved truly effective. Big discounts for groups so you can go with your miserable work colleagues. The proceeds all go to charity.
Details: The next available session is in North London on the 28th August. To read more click here.
For: canoeing on the weekend down some of London’s beautiful waterways.
The Lowdown: Pick up a paddle and climb into a Moo Canoe. Start at Hackney Wick and take a guided or independent tour down Regents Canal or round the Thames.
Why: It’s a great way to see London’s famous waterways while doing a bit of exercise. But be careful not to swallow any canal water as you may be off work for a while. Finish up your day to a soothing hot chocolate (instead) at the floating cafe (The Milk Float).
Details: Hire bookings start and finish at The Milk Float in Hackney Wick. The Milk float is open Saturday and Sundays from 10am to 6pm. Drop-in bookings are possible but subject to availability. Canoes sit up to 3 adults. Also on offer is kayaking and paddleboarding. For more information click here.
For: some sexy, outdoor tango
The Lowdown: Spitalfields holds a series of monthly, free outdoor milongas (dance sessions) for Londoners to get their groove on. It is a chance for Londoners to loosen up those hips and pretend they are a Latino. Basic steps can be learnt at the Sunday sessions taught by real Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) so you can impress your date on Thursday and pretend you’re a beginner.
Why: It is completely free and a good laugh. If the weather’s bad you can groove under a canopy so there really is no excuse!
Details: The classes are on both Thursday and Sunday. No pre booking needed just turn up.
For: a natural bathing pond in the heart of London
The Lowdown: Built as an art installation intended to contrast the urban exteriors with something natural, this 40-metre oval pool gets booked up well in advance so be sure to book ahead and organise that dip after work.
Why: How often do you get to swim in fresh, natural water? It is really quite refreshing on a hot day, and does wonders for one’s grey-lifeless-smog-dissolved London skin.
Details: The pond is located on Stable Street, not far from Granary Square King’s Cross. It’s about a 5 minute walk from King’s Cross or St Pancras stations. It’s only £5 for three and half hours and opens at 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends.
For: a sociable cycle
The Lowdown: Don’t be scared to cycle in the chaotic capital and go for a pre-work spin with Outdoor Fitness Collective’s Pre-Work Cycle. Or if you fancy something a little more intense go for the post work female cycling club. Sometimes they venture out of town aiming for the rolling green hills outside London. Both groups you register through this website. For a longer journey on the weekend join the Central London CTC. These rides are tailored for ability and can be very rewarding. Often the cyclists are treated to a hearty pub lunch after the challenge.
Why: There’s nothing like cycling through the English countryside with wind flowing through your hair, with your troubles lost in the wind. Such scenic rides can be spontaneous, so slip into your padded J-Lo shorts and go for it!
Details: There are many weekend rides with Central London CTC. The next one to Cambridge is on Sunday 7th August. Sign up now.
For: Gorilla Circus flying trapeze club
The Lowdown: No you will not be swinging in the air with a gorilla sadly, but you will be swinging merrily like a monkey with experienced instructors. Classes for all levels, Gorilla Circus, flying trapeze school is a great way to try acrobatics in the fresh, open air of Regent’s Park. An adrenaline-fuelled, exciting workout, this class works every muscle in the body. You’ll use every miniscule of strength you have to make the bar, exhaustion will be the least of your worries.
Why: If you’re a tad vertiginous maybe this is not the hobby for you. But if you like taking the plunge over the edge then strap into that harness right now. This is certainly something different, and we totally love it.
Details: North West side of Regent’s park. The next beginners/All-levels Classes are 10am Thursday 4th August. For others check here.
For: a military style, intense workout in the great outdoors
The Lowdown: This is not training for the military as the name suggests but after a few months of this you could definitely apply! Split up into three ability classes; blue, red and green you will certainly be pushed to reach your potential. The sessions last an hour and include varied exercise and team games.
Why: For an intense, sweaty, fun workout in the park, you’ll become seriously fit and see the results quickly.
Details: Located all around London, you can book a free taster session here.
For: a game of netball like old times
The Lowdown: Spanned across London, Go Mammoth runs many netball classes and competitions for adults. Yes that’s right you can pretend you’re fifteen again and enjoy good, clean fun! There are three levels of difficulty, from recreational which is for beginners to competitive where you can get your game face on and score some goals. The higher levels are for those who have played in the past.
Why: Get active without realising. Once you’re in the midst of a game, you’ll forget all about burning those calories.
Details: Peruse the website here. There are many different clubs all over London so you can find the classes/ games near you. On offer are a number of different sports and fitness classes from volleyball to football.
For: a game of footy in an inflatable ball
The Lowdown: Strap into an inflatable, transparent football and get ready to barge your arch enemy. Bubble football a.k.a zorb football has taken off in the capital and there is no better time to squeeze it in than this summer. You’ll pee yourself laughing but no one will know as you’ll be in a protective cage! Get zorbed this summer.
Why: Perfect for your brother or guy mate’s birthday.
Details: Pitches across London; Shepherd’s Bush, Waterloo and Whitechapel, you can zorb it out from all angles. Check it out here.