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Turning a run around into an effective workout

Running around is often used as a synonym for a 'waste of time', with its implications of rushing around with no direction in mind, unfocused and burning energy pointlessly. However, to someone with only the space of a garden to train in, a 'run around' can be used to boost fitness and activity levels in a focused and even structured way.

Fun and games

The primary consideration of any workout should be fun, whether you are looking for serious sports health or just to lose a few pounds and get the old heart pumping again. With this in mind, it is always best to start slowly to warm up, gently increasing the level of activity until you feel ready to challenge yourself a little more. Simply jogging on the spot is a good form of this if space is limited, but if you have more room, then jogging between a series of three or four points is also good. Once you are warmed up, you can use a tennis ball or similar to help get your reflexes sharpened up and your arms and legs working. Throwing the ball against a wall and catching it is good for keeping you sharp and making a run around the garden more interesting. Increasing the number of times you throw the ball, or making yourself turn round quickly before catching it are good ways of boosting the challenge in this activity.

Work those muscles

Introducing other variations of activity into the movement can also boost interest and work different muscle groups to simply running. Skipping and bounding between points and changing the activity at each point can help with this.
A resistance band could also be used. Another way of increasing the workload if you are fitter is to do different exercises at each point of your run around. Getting down and doing some press-ups, sit-ups or squats can burn more calories and strengthen key parts of your body, and also make the work-out much more time-efficient in terms of workload and range of benefits, wherever you are around the globe.

Hit the dirt

Falling on the floor for a few seconds and then, rising again at various times in a run-around can also add challenge to it as a work-out, especially if you are exercising with a partner who can call out pre-arranged signals at random for you to hit the ground and then, start exercising again. Obviously, this activity can be structured in with the variety of other exercises mentioned above. If it is available, music can also be used as a way of signalling a change of activity or a change of pace, as well as adding fun to the run around.

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