We’re all guilty of making New Year's resolutions we know we’ll never keep. More than half of us who join the gym in January barely make it five months before cancelling. But if you’re serious about getting active this year, strolling mindlessly on a treadmill doesn’t have to be your only option. Get outdoors! There are a million and one different activities you can try out this year, so what are you waiting for?
Now as you can probably guess, our favourite way to stay active is pretty much any activity that involves water. If you love the water and maybe want to do something a little more exciting than swimming, then you've come to the right place. You need not fear either, many of us here only got into our chosen sport later on in life. You're never too old to try something new - as long as you've got the right attitude and a degree of determination you'll be fine. It may take you a little longer than you thought to get the hang of things, but believe us, it will come. Til then, just enjoy the ride!
Given that we live and breathe the sport here at Wetsuit Outlet, it’s no surprise that this is our first suggestion. Not only is surfing an awesome full body workout, but between the ocean air, pumping waves and surrounding landscape, we can’t imagine a better place to pick up a new hobby. Learning how to surf can be a daunting prospect to many people who’ve never thrown on a wetsuit before. But don’t worry, it can be done. All you need is a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn. We recommend bringing a friend along with you – that way you can take the mick at whoever falls in the most!
Where to go
It goes without saying that the best surf spot in the UK is Cornwall. There you’ll find some of the country’s best surf schools, including the O’Neill Surf Academy in Watergate Bay. But if you’re not planning a trip down to Land’s End any time soon, your best bet is Google. The UK’s a fairly small little island, so chances are you’re not too far from some open water and can easily shoot down the motorway on a dday tripwith some friends. Alternatively, you can try an indoor surf venue as these offer the benefit of learning in a safe and controlled environment to calm those nerves. Just search up where your nearest one is and hop in the car. Indoor or outdoor, surfing is accessible to you. If you can surf in Bedford, you can surf anywhere…
A little calmer than surfing, SUP appeals to anyone who wants a slightly less adrenaline-fuelled activity. There's nothing quite like touring open water on a SUP board - it's peaceful, relaxing and a perfect way to relieve stress as you connect with nature. Whilst there are different types of paddling, (touring, racing, wave-catching) we recommend hiring/buying a touring or all-round board if you're a beginner and want to take it slowly or practice with the whole family. You also want to make sure you've got a fairly wide board (32" is generally your best bet) as this will give you ample space and stability.
Where to go
What’s great about stand up paddle boarding is that you don’t need waves to do it, so even if the coast is off-limits, you can head to the nearest bit of open water, whether that be a lake, river, lagoon or swamp (just kidding, please don’t go in a swamp). As SUP has become so popular (you can literally do it in Central London now), there are private or group lessons available across the country, or you can simply hire a board and go. It really is that simple.
Kayaking is similar to SUP in that it offers the same invaluable experience of escaping the urban setting in favour of a serene encounter with nature. It’s an adaptable activity made to suit everyone – whether you fancy racing down 30 foot waterfalls with friends or discovering hidden banks and getting the best view of the evening sunset, kayaking offers every type of experience for every type of person.
Where to go
The UK has some of the best kayaking spots around. We’ve written a blog on the best places to go if you’re looking to escape the 9 ‘til 5 for a weekend of sublime landscapes and rehabilitating adventure. In case you’re not able to get away, don’t panic. There are plenty of lakes and rapids to kick start your kayaking hobby on, including the Lee Valley White Water Centre just outside of London (so even if you’re landlocked you’ve still got no excuse!). Alternatively, invest in a kayak of your own or hire one locally to try it out. Just make sure you’ve got all the gear for the adventure – including a vital buoyancy aid in case you find you in deep water. Pun intended.
Don’t panic if you haven’t yet found an activity that you feel is really for you. There are plenty of other ways to get outdoors and stay active this year, and it doesn’t have to be a chore! Spending time in nature is one of life’s simplest pleasures and it for sure beats being stuck inside a gym. Yes, it may be hard to drag yourself out of the house in the cold, gloomy winter months, but your lungs will be grateful for the supplemented fresh air.
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