Summer in London sees Londoners flocking outdoors, but that doesn’t mean your fitness regime has to go out the window too. There are oodles of outdoor fitness classes in London, from horse riding and cycling to flying trapeze, wild swimming and even paddleboard yoga. The Resident picks out the best ways to workout in the great outdoors in north, west and south London
1 Gorilla Circus, Regent’s Park
The Flying Trapeze School returns to Regent’s Park for the summer (until 3 September 2016) and to Kensington Gardens from 3-24 august 2016. Anyone can join the Gorilla Circus and learn to fly during a two-hour class. Students start with a warm up then move on to practice a simple trick on the low bar, then attempt the trick on the Flying Trapeze and, towards the end of the class, get caught by an instructor on a separate swinging bar. There’s a mix of drop-in classes and courses. In the winter, find Gorilla Circus indoors at the Hanger Arts Trust in North Greenwich.
2 Wildfitness, Hampstead Heath and various location
From now until the end of the summer, Wildfitness is giving you the opportunity to understand their wild exercise philosophy on your doorstep with a series of special events. Their head coaches have devised two-hour sessions that aim to provide you with insights into how to use nature as a tool; not only to get physically fit, but doing so in a place that will stimulate your primal senses.
Find out more at wildfitness.com and browse and book summer events here
3 Stand Up Paddlebaording, various locations
Paddleboarding is a fun and easy sport to learn and is therefore ideally suited to groups of friends wanting to try something new and exciting. It’s great for that core, too. Wakeupdocklands offers Paddlebaording lessons in the Docklands as well as special SUP sessions for fitness like SUPyoga classes and race training sessions. SUPyoga can enhance your yoga practice because, unlike a mat, the board responds to your movements, which requires you to work harder to remain stable. Run by SurfSUPfitYoga, you can also try the classes in Islington, or Paddington with in Pure Yoga Zone. Active360 also runs Paddleboarding classes in Paddington Basin, Putney and Kew Bridge.
4 British Military Fitness, various locations
Not only does this one get you outside to enjoy keeping fit, but it also instils in you a strong sense of camaraderie, friendly competition and really encourages you to push your body and your boundaries. British Military Fitness was founded in April 1999 by Major Robin Cope and Sergeant Harry Sowerby as an alternative form of group fitness training to gyms. The exercise is based on what’s used to train the military, but is levelled in terms of different abilities. Find British Military Fitness at Alexandra Palace, Hampstead Heath, Clapham Common, Shoreditch Park, Dulwich Park, Blackheath and more London green spaces.
5 Army Bootcamp Fitness, various parks
Army Bootcamp Fitness runs outdoor bootcamp training classes in north and east London at Highbury Fields, Victoria Park and Wanstead Park. The classes are a great way to get fit, lose weight and make new friends while training in London’s lovely outdoor spaces.
6 The Great Outdoor Gym Company, Islington
There are three outdoor gyms in Islington run by The Great Outdoor Gym Company, but Paradise Park gets our nod as you can relax in the Mary Tealby Peace Garden post-workout. Check it out on Mackenzie Road N7 8QZ or visit the outdoor gyms at Elthorne Park, Hazellville Road N19 3NF or Rosemary Gardens, Southgate Road N1 3JP.
Find more of London’s outdoor gyms at tgogc.com
1 West London Stables
Horse riding not only gets you outside, but is a fun and original way of staying fit. All abilities can be found tending this city herd of happy, healthy and busy horses. West London Stables were established 15 years ago and pride themselves on teaching people to ride and care for these magnificent animals. For those more experienced, you can perfect your skills and enjoy a ride on Wormwood Scrubs Park.
20 Stable Way W10 6QX; 020 8964 2140; westlondonstables.co.uk
2 Buggy Fit, Holland Park
The Buggy Fit classes that are held in Holland Park are perfect for new mums to get outdoors and get fit too. It includes power walking to raise your heart rate and burn fat, and specific exercises to strengthen and tone particular muscle groups. The instructor is an expert in assessing how hard to work each mum in order to gain maximum results in a friendly environment where you can make friends. All mothers must be at least six weeks post-natal.
3 West London Ramblers, various locations
West London Ramblers offer friendly walks locally and further afield. With a mixture of city walks in central London and country walks in Greater London and the counties, you never have to go very far to join in with this great and fun form of fitness. The group has to stay together, so give some thought to your level of fitness before choosing your walk: look for distance, hills and pace of the walk.
4 Yoga Fitness Summer Pop-Ups, Ravenscourt Park
Behind the tea house in Ravenscourt Park lies a secret garden, tucked away from the outside world. Filled with peach trees and two listed glasshouses, it is a blissfully tranquil hideaway. Here, you can take yoga classes in an area naturally heated by the sun, providing an organic warm yoga environment without the need for stuffy heaters re-circulating stale studio air. It’s a perfect way to exercise outdoors for the summer.
Ravenscourt Park, Paddenswick Road W6 0UL; yogafitnesslondon.co.uk
5 Chiswick Cycling Club
You’re quite spoiled for choice in west London if cycling is something that you enjoy. With an ideal position to cycle both in central London and just outside of the city, there are routes made for all abilities. Chiswick Cycling Club has regular rides at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays, which is a perfect way to start your weekend. They will also set aside time to teach group riding skills to help beginners.
6 The Thames Tidal Swim
This one is more for the experienced swimmers among us, though it is something that you can train up for. The Thames Tidal Swim takes place just next to The Black Lion Pub in Hammersmith and is a volunteer-led event for those who enjoy open-water swimming. It’s a great way to keep fit in the great outdoors, but be aware only swimmers that have pre-registered can join in with one of the swims. See the website for the schedule.
1 Charlton & Brockwell lidos
The Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club is just a five minute drive from Woolwich and Blackheath and has recently been refurbished. As well as outdoor swimming in a 50m heated pool, it has a gym kitted out with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment. Try out serious spinning in an open-air cycle station overlooking the pool, or grab a bike and head to the adjacent Olympic BMX track. Brockwell Lido – fondly known as Brixton Beach, is another great outdoor swimming pool between Herne Hill and Brixton. Grab a bite to eat at The Lido Cafe after your swim and soak up the sunny vibes.
Charlton Lido, Shooters Hill Road SE18 4LX; better.org.uk
Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road SE24 0PA; fusion-lifestyle.com
2 Yogarise, Peckham
Rise and shine with Yogarise and practise your sun salutations under the warm glow of the sun with a rooftop yoga class. Rooftop classes are held on the Bussey Building, giving new life to the typical vinyasa class. The studio offers everything from beginners’ classes to a dynamic vinyasa flow, an invigorating Rocket class or Ashtanga, so there’s a style to suit each yogi.
The Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane SE15 4ST; 020 7732 2122; yogarisepeckham.com
3 Jelly Belly, Peckham Rye
Whether you’re a mother-to-be or have recently had a baby, Jelly Belly offers the motivation you need to get you back on the fitness wagon. Outdoor classes are offered in Dulwich Park and in Peckham Rye, so you can meet other mums and get fresh air with the baby in tow. Jelly Belly also offers Anytime, Anywhere, which begins with a 30 minute consultation, and then provides you with personalised online workouts.
Peckham Rye SE15 3UA; 020 3544 8462; jellybellypt.com
4 Henre Hill Veldodrome
The success of Team GB during London 2012 has seen track cycling become more popular, and Herne Hill Velodrome is the perfect place to give it a go as it isn’t as steeply banked as many other velodromes. Before you get started, you’ll need to take part in an induction session to give you a grounding in the basics of track riding. Sessions take place on fixed-wheel track bikes, which are provided for your induction and can be rented for free for beginner and intermediate training sessions. On Tuesday nights there are road bike sessions, for those attached to their current wheels!
104 Burbage Road, Herne Hill SE24 9HE; hernehillvelodrome.co
5 Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
If you bore easily, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre is the place for you. The massive centre is home to a wealth of options to choose from from tennis to squash and swimming. There’s also a gym and plenty of fitness classes, as well as a climbing wall for a challenging upper-body workout. But if you want to take it outdoors for the summer, see if you can get close to Usain Bolt’s 100-metre sprint record or whip your trainers off and give beach volleyball a go on the sandy courts (check out Crystal Palace Beach Volleyball Club).
Ledrington Road SE19 2BB; 020 8778 0131; better.org.uk
6 Horse riding on Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park
For horse riders and would-be equestrians, Wimbledon Common is the place to go, with friendly stables such as Stag Lodge and Ridgway Stables offering lessons. This year, Wimbledon Village Stables, a family-run stable tucked away just off the High Street is also offering lessons on the Equicise simulator, which replicates the behaviour of a perfectly trained horse so you can focus on technique and alignment, helping you improve core stability and endurance – ‘we’re trying to really tie fitness and riding in together, they go hand in hand’, says owner Carol Andrews.
ridinginlondon.com; ridgwaystables.co.uk; wvstables.com
7 Cycling in Richmond Park
You can hire a bike from Parkcycle and enjoy a gentle bike ride along the cycle paths through Richmond Park, or you can join the legion of serious lycra road cyclists and really get your heart rate up with two or three laps of the park. The road around the edge of Richmond Park is around 6.73 miles (10.83 km) and offers steep climbs, technical descents and some steady ascents. Parkcycle is located at the Roehampton Car Park, both adult and children’s bikes are available for hire by the hour.
To plan your cycle route, click here