Ascot racecourse maybe known for its horse racing but it offers the perfect place to help keep you fit. It’s free to use, its 1.5 mile inside ‘track’ is perfect for walking, power walking, running, cycling, walking the dog and evening pushing the pram.
Open from dusk till dawn, you can use the main circuit to do a number of things to help improve your fitness. Here are some of my favourites routines which seem to have gone down well with a number of my clients.
I’ve split this in two three main fitness areas – cardio (strong heart), strengthening (strong muscles) and flexibility (improved range of movement).
Your cardio fitness plan
Always remember to warm-up before you undertake any cardio or aerobic (basic fitness level) routine. If you experience any tightness, continue to warm-up before doing some light stretching.
Endurance and Interval training will help you to improve your cardio fitness. It strengthens your cardiovascular system more than anything – your heart, opens up your arteries and capillaries, helping you to remain fit and healthy. Taking on this type of training will help you to reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease and increase plenty of other things too – your confidence, boost your immune system, improve concentration levels and keep your blood pressure in tip top condition too.
The key to getting your endurance training right is to get your pace right. Endurance is about doing exercise for a long period of time, slowly. If you start too quickly it is likely you’ll run out of gas very soon. Start slow and find the right pace.
Ascot racecourse fitness tip one
- Set yourself a goal of getting around the racecourse by completing two whole circuits. Pace yourself carefully. This challenge is three miles long. Walk it, run it or cycle it. If it is the first time you’ve taken this challenge on take your time and maybe see how you feel after completing one circuit
Ascot racecourse fitness tip two
- After you have tried improving your general fitness by improving your endurance, you may want to spice things up a little. Interval training is a great way to top-up your fitness levels by pushing your heart that little bit more. Instead of doing long distance exercise at a slow, comfortable pace. This type of exercise is all about speed. Your heart will be pounding but you’ll feel amazing afterwards
Ascot racecourse fitness tip three
- If you are feeling extra adventurous you could combine an endurance and interval routine. This should only be attempted once you have achieved a good level of fitness and you feel you are ready for a new, harder challenge. You could walk, run or cycle around the racecourse a couple of times slowly before increasing the pace and doing a third circuit. See how you get on. A personal favourite of mine is to run around the racecourse three times, hitting the accelerator at every mile marker for 30 seconds. Three laps of the course would mean hitting the gas only four times. Up for the challenge?
This type of training is more than just about having big muscles and looking good. It is about having strong muscles throughout. Your heart is a vital muscle we need to keep fit and healthy. The same should apply to all your other muscle groups too.
Ascot racecourse fitness tip four
- Over on the Winkfield Rd side of the racecourse, there is a bridge. Next to the bridge are a set of steps that get you on the racecourse from the road that runs underneath the bridge. Walking or running up these steps will help strengthen those quadricep, hamstring and glute muscles of yours. Starting at the bottom, get up those stairs as quickly and safely as possible before coming back down. Repeat this three times. Slow the pace down if you get too tired. It is not a race. It is all about completing the three sets. Good luck
Ascot racecourse fitness tip five
- Over on the Windsor road side of the racecourse, there is an entrance gate to the Public. This is a perfect spot to do some arm, core and chest work. Walk through the entrance gate and make your way on to the circuit. Here you will find a ledge perfect for doing some tricep dips. Over by the section of grass that is ‘on-wheels’, here you can work that chest of yours by doing some press-ups before flipping over on your back and doing some sit-ups or the plank. These two exercises will work your core
Ascot racecourse fitness tip six
- My final strength training tip is the pathway up to the royal box – Churchill road. Yes a road on the racecourse! This ‘road’ is perfect for doing hill reps. The hill gets steeper and your legs will hurt. This is how to you get a stronger body. Try it out. The perfect fat burner and another perfect routine to improve the strength of those quads, hams and glutes
After a big workout it is very important to warm down and stretch. If there is one thing we don’t do enough of after exercising, it is going to be stretching. We simply want to get home. From now on you will always stretch. Promise?
Ascot racecourse fitness tip seven
- Let’s begin with your upper body. Shoulders, triceps and chest stretches. Any niggles you may have, will be overcome by stretching these parts of our upper body. Ease yourself into the stretches before repeating the stretch using a little more force and stretching for longer
Ascot racecourse fitness tip eight
- Back stretches – like any muscle in our body, we need to stretch them all. Some are more obvious than others. There are a host of back stretches for the Rhomboids, Trapezius (Traps), Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) and Quadratus Lumborum, big back muscles that can ache after doing some tough training. ‘Google’ stretches for these muscles and you won’t go wrong
Ascot racecourse fitness tip nine
- My ninth tip covers the lower part of our body. Stretching the lower part of our body is crucial considering we tend to use these quads, hams, calves and glutes muscles more than any other main muscle group. Standing up, sitting down, lying down, one or two of those muscles are being worked every day and we’re not even aware of it. As I mentioned above, start slowly before working towards a longer, tougher stretch. These muscles deserved to be stretched well. Hamstrings in particular!
Ascot racecourse fitness tip ten
- Enjoy it. If you feel good about yourself, mentally engaged and feel a spring in your step, you’ll be enjoying it. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is actually enjoy things. Keep at it and aim to enjoy it above anything else. That’s the ‘real’ goal isn’t it?