The Lake District Gym
Published: Wednesday 5th Feb 2014
Written by: Natalie Barker
Recently Cumbria Tourist board have launched a campaign called #theplacetobe which showcases some great reasons to visit our beautiful county, but I must say my favourite campaign poster has to be ‘Feel free to use the gym’. Exercise is now a multimillion pound industry but membership to an expensive club with air-conditioned windowless rooms filled with machines to get you fit isn’t for everyone, here in The Lake District Gym the landscape is free to use and has some of the best views in the world. You can keep your running machines, I’ll be off for a jog around Langdale, likewise the ‘Stairmaster’ a brisk walk up Loughrigg should keep the calves in shape! If you want to lift weights throw some stones in a rucksack and away you go.
Recently I completed the ‘Tough Guy’ challenge in Staffordshire, 10 miles of mud and obstacles in the cold January weather. Training took place in and around Langdale using the walkers trails and the natural terrain to get me ‘race ready’. I did use the local gym once but after being used to the changing scenery and varied condition outside, to be honest I was bored witless within an hour. Most of my training was simply running on the footpaths around Langdale Valley & on Loughrigg and Lingmoor Fell. Throw in a bit of gyhll scrambling and climbing for upper body strength and I could tell on race day that I was more than prepared for what the course was about to throw at me. 4500 began the race but only 2777 completed it, many of whom I suspect were ‘gym’ fit but not used to being out in the elements.
The Lake District, offers some of the best terrain in the world for keeping fit, without ever being so far away from civilisation that you feel unsafe – high fells, beautiful lakes, forests and miles upon miles of well cared for footpaths. Unlike joining a gym you can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside whilst you work out. Wether it’s heading out on the hills for a strenuous walk (terrain available to suit all abilities), running, swimming, mountain biking or climbing The Lake District has something for everyone. There’s even the option of Skiing during the winter at ‘Raise’ next to Helvellyn (you need to be quite fit and an accomplished skier for this as the ski lift is an hours walk from Glenridding). Grizedale Forest nr Hawkshead and Whinlatter forest nr Keswick have become a premier locations for mountain biking, orienteering and trail running in recent years, with the added attraction of their fantastic ‘Go Ape’ tree top trails offering yet another activity to keep you busy. Our Lake District cottages offer a great opportunity to leave the car parked all week whilst you enjoy the best of Englands countryside.Whatever your chosen form of exercise the Lake District Gym must be ‘the place to be’.