Summer Holiday Destination – Urban Series 1/2

Seasonal Health 29 August 2017

Episode #1: Urban Workout Programme


Staying in town this summer or choosing the city break option?

Good choice! Urban space can be like your own private sports field!

Here are a few exercises to impress your friends with when they return.


An old-school classic: running

Awaiting you are shaded riverbanks and town parks, ideal for a quick run.

Give preference to the cooler part of the day at the start of the morning and consider wearing suncream and bringing a bottle of water with you.

For beginners, the best way to get going without exhausting yourself is to alternate brisk walking with running.

As you make progress, increase the length of your run.


Go bicycle riding

Cycling in a city or town isn’t exactly an endurance sport, even if some spots here and there do allow you to do a cardio workout.

However, it is an excellent way to work your leg muscles: calves, thighs, buttocks and even tone your abs and lumbar vertebrae if you are seeking to stay trim.

Above all, it is excellent for your blood circulation and it combats arthritis in the knees.


Take the stairs

Whether you’re in your office, at home or the shopping centre, forget about the lift or the escalator.

Taking the stairs is not just good for your breathing and heart, it is also a fantastic way of toning your calves and buttocks, and improving your circulation.

However, do pay attention: to see these results you can’t just move one from one step to the next by clinging on to the handrail.

It’s all in the leg technique!

  1. Attack the walk by simply using the point of your foot; the rest of the foot is in a vacuum and the heel is downward.
  2. Push on the point of your foot and work the entire foot through to the tip. Start again on your next step.
  3. For even better results, tighten your buttocks on each movement and as soon as you feel able, start climbing the stairs 2 by 2.


Urban fitness training

A tip for this new method of exercise: use street furniture as training equipment.

A park or a simple town square will do the job, but I’d advise you to wear sports clothes all the same. A tight skirt and stilettos definitely won’t be suitable attire!


Bench dips

If you can, choose an empty bench.J

Put your hands on the bench at each side of your body and lower your buttocks into the space.

Leaning on your hands, dip as low as you can go then rise up without sitting down.

Your leg position impacts the difficulty level of the exercise: the straighter your legs, the more difficult the movement will be.

This exercise will help you to develop the muscles in your triceps: the muscles in the back of the arms that have the unfortunate tendency to sag with age.


Wall push-ups

The main aim of this exercise: to develop the shoulder muscles and firm up the chest.

They are just like real push-ups; the ones done by soldiers.

But as we can’t all be GI Jane, let’s use a little trick and try wall or oblique push-ups.

In all positions, the movement is almost the same, but the more horizontal you are, the more the level of difficulty increases.

Going from the easiest to most difficult exercise:

  1. Against a wall, with your arms at shoulder height and the whole body tensed, bend your elbows to bring you closer to the wall then stretch them out again. Repeat the exercise a dozen times.
  2. Use a guardrail or the back of a bench instead of a wall
  3. Use a bench seat, preferably without a back on it J
  4. Use a step

The muscles used: abs, pecs, triceps, deltoids (the muscles that give you good-looking, rounded shoulders), trapezius muscles, dorsals and buttocks.


Bench step ups

  1. Put one foot on the bench, leave the other on the floor.
  2. Push on the leg on the floor to stretch. 
  3. During the stretch, switch feet: put the foot on the ground onto the bench and put the other down on the floor simultaneously.
  4. Repeat the movement one after the other. Try to synchronise the opposite elbow with the bent leg.

The muscles used: Quads, buttocks, calves and abs. This exercise is also very good as a cardio activity.




After your session, stretch your hamstrings, the muscles in the back of the legs.

Legs straight, put one leg on the bench and stand up, balancing on the other leg.

If you hold the top of your foot and bring it towards you, you’ll feel more of a pull in your calf.

Lean forward to try reach your other foot. Stay in the position for 30 seconds and then start again with the other side.


Sitting on a bench or chair, put one foot on the ground and bend the other leg with your ankle on top of your knee (as if half cross-legged).

Lean forward to grab the ankle on the ground.

Stay in the position for 30 seconds and then start again with the other side.