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Now's the time to step up your daily routine by getting outdoors again

From sunrise HIIT to evening power-walks, schedule your exercise to max out on vitamin D, says Katie Strick

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Walking in the sun

Walking in the sun

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Walking in the sun

What's the smartest way to work out now that restrictions have been (partially) lifted?

It's all about maxing out on fresh air, says Boom Cycle instructor Lisa Doole. Since lockdown, she's taken to splitting her exercise day into three: a short 20 or 30-minute "wake-up" workout before getting to her desk; a lunchtime walk; then a longer cardio, strength or yoga session in the evening "depending on energy levels".

The beauty of this technique? She actually schedules in those exercises she missed pre-lockdown due to lack of time: activation work, physio, stretching - crucial for preventing injury now that most of us are exercising more.

Nike trainer and human movement specialist Luke Worthington agrees. Now so many of us are working from home, it's important to keep up that "non-exercise activity" that we normally get walking to and from the office and climbing those stairs. Embracing the all-day workout helps to do this: you still get your HIIT in with a lunchtime boxing class, but starting your day with a brisk walk will help to readdress the energy imbalance in your day. Plus it'll give you a healthy dose of vitamin D.

His advice is to keep high-energy workouts scheduled for as early in the day as possible so that you can capitalise on the stress hormone it releases. Do your lunchtime walk after you've eaten to aid digestion, recommends Fiit trainer Gabby Allen, then "evening exercise should be more of a leisurely stroll or some back garden stretching or mobility work," says Worthington - just because many of us have more time to train, we mustn't overlook recovery. It's more important to look after our bodies now than ever.

If you need a guide, aim to hit 10,000 steps a day, suggests Joe Mitten, founder of fitness programme MittFit.

"It'll increase your daily activity levels without having to fit in another workout and get hot and sweaty" - it doesn't have to be a formal HIIT class to count as activity. Try some lunchtime tennis or football with your housemates to mix things up, and chores count too," he says.

"Hoovering, dusting, cleaning out the fridge and all of the previously boring tasks you used to hate can actually increase your daily NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)". Just make sure you save them for the evenings so you don't waste the daylight and vitamin D during the day.

Speaking of chores, the all-day workout is sometimes the only option for homeschooling parents, says PT Kate Rowe-Ham. The mother-of-three is hosting 25-minute 7am HIIT sessions on Instagram Live (@katerh_fitness) for busy parents in the hope that they can make up the rest of their sweat-count over the course of the day. "When the kids have a break in the school timetable, try to get everyone outside," she says, suggesting five to 10 minutes of throwing, catching or tag. "Anything to get the heart pumping and blood ­flowing."

For parents who haven't managed their morning workout, lunchtime can also be another perfect slot while the kids are busy eating.

"Choose five exercises, set a timer and see how many rounds you can do in 15 minutes," says Rowe-Ham. By the time the evening comes around, some stretching and yoga will be just the wind-down you need. Stretch your workout out, too.

© EVENING STANDARD

Belfast Telegraph