Spring is well under way and I’ve noticed that, when 5.30pm comes around, I’m not the only one swapping my heels for trainers.
At this time of year, London is chock full of office workers making innovative use of the city’s finest outdoor exercise resources. In every corner of the capital, benches become dip stations and jungle gyms become pull-up bars (when there isn’t one of these clever trim trails nearby). So off I go, packing my work clothes into a handy Gregory rucksack, which comes with plenty of compartments to safely stow my iPad, mobile and keys.
My favourite commuter workout begins at the Tate Modern and runs to the Tower of London. I start with high knee raises to warm up beneath the Millennium Bridge, then sprint up and down the steps of Southwark Bridge.
After a gentle recovery run across the bridge, I re-join the Thames Path and stop for a few sets of squats and burpees. I’m not one to pack lightly, so the 10kg rucksack on my back naturally increases the challenge and reminds me to keep my chest lifted.
Grapevining my way to a park bench looking out to Tower Bridge, I balance carefully with one leg resting on the bench and drop down into at least a dozen single-leg squats. The bench (or indeed, any low wall or cement barrier) is also the perfect prop for several variations of press-up such as the incline, decline and spider press-up.
Once I reach the Tower of London, I use the uneven cobblestones and incline walkway to test my core strength with enough mountain climbers to cause a tremble through my abs and shoulders. I finish off with step-ups on the cement barriers and take one last look at the sun setting over London before warming down with the 10-minute jog back to my east London apartment.
The total 3-mile journey from the office to my flat typically combines 20 minutes of running and 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises, but every workout is unique. Rather than sticking to a set routine, I train my body using whatever movements I feel it needs most. If my legs are sore, I’ll go easy on the squats and focus instead on putting my upper body through its paces.
I love my commuter workouts because they give me a great excuse to forego a crowded carriage on the rush-hour train. And while I increase my cardiovascular fitness by running and get all the toning and metabolic advantages of bodyweight exercises, I’m also saving money I’d otherwise spend on a monthly travel card. What’s not to love?
Muddy Plimsolls offers a 1-hour Commuter Workout Workshop to enhance the benefits of a run home into a full body workout.