Summer Fitness – Issue 65


Posted by in June's Magazine

I recently caught sight of my leg. We’ve had such a long, cold winter and I’ve been well swaddled, so it was the first time I’d really seen my naked leg in daylight, outdoors, since 2009. It took me by surprise; I had almost forgotten what it looked like. It got me thinking; when I lived in Australia I would see my limbs more regularly due to a warmer climate. I had more colour, that’s for sure. Aussie warm days were common and I saw my body more often I guess.
I’m writing this at the end of May, the week after that absolutely stunning weekend. My shoulders are still warm from over exposure to the sun (yes, I’m turning Scottish). The weekend of 22nd and 23rd May, when the lovely Andy and I had picnics four days in a row alternating between Pilrig Park and Leith Links, was an amazing weekend, everyone was really happy, including the grumpy man in the local shop. My friends and I wondered what Edinburgh and it’s citizens would be like if this sunny weather was the norm. And watching the good folk of Pilrig and Leith frolic in the sun, it seems that we would be a good deal more active. There’s something about the energy from the sunshine that gets folk off their arses, playing football and throwing Frisbees in parks. Who knows? Perhaps if it were sunny all the time we would all become mega fit. On the other hand, perhaps we’d get complacent and be happy to look at the sunny weather through a window.

Certainly in Australia folk seem less impressed with the sun. After all, they have it all the time. Socialising is quite different as most Antipodean folk have their own back yards, so BBQs are more like VIP events, invite only. I like the randomness of people pitching up with BBQs in the park sitting next to someone they have never met before. No wonder folk here have such a good time in summer. The place comes alive and, as many Leithers don’t have their own back gardens (or a swampy, stinky, communal garden in our case), we have to take to the streets and populate local parks to soak up the rays.

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Whilst Australians may socialise from the comfort of their back gardens, one thing they’re not afraid to do in public is exercise. I can remember going for a run just after I moved here in 1996 and wondering where all the runners were. It’s only really in the last few years that the charity running craze has blossomed. Why do so many people suddenly feel the need to do marathons? It’s fabulous that running has become ‘on trend’, I wonder how long it will last? It’s amazing how quickly things can change…the fickle finger of fitness. Only five years ago, when I first started my personal training business, my clients and I would regularly get stared at as we exercised in public parks. It’s getting a bit more commonplace now, but even last Saturday as I was training a client in Pilrig Park, I had a friendly chap following us around quizzing me about karate (a subject on which I know very little).

Whilst lazily sunning myself on the hill of Pilrig Park, I got to thinking about fitness (thinking, not actually doing it) and wondering whether there is a correlation between the weather and fitness. Certainly as I could see my bare leg in daylight, it made me aware of it’s actual shape and function and therefore more inclined to use it. If we’re less inclined to naturally exercise in mediocre weather, then we need to plan when we exercise. For this reason, a bunch of us are holding an unofficial street party on Balfour Street the day before Leith Gala Day. Come along on Friday 11th June to take part in a ‘flash mob’. We’re aiming to get a whole bunch of people skipping, hooping, jumping and limbo-ing all together. We’ll meet on the corner of Balfour Street and Leith Walk around sixish, or pop into Griffen Fitness on Balfour Street for a free fruit juice. You can buy a discounted skipping rope there as well. Fresh Mex takeaway Los Cardos will be supplying some healthy(ish) nibbles on the day. If it’s raining we’ll do it anyway!
If football’s your thing, pop into Victoria Bar at 4pm on the same day to watch Mexico vs South Africa on their big screen – that skipping rope purchase will get you a discount there as well as Los Cardos!

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