10th January 2014The Western Lake District workout

Well 2014 has arrived and with it the annual feeling that I need to get out, do some exercise and begin the year with healthy habits. So I thought this was a timely opportunity to try and inspire you with some of the great places in the Western Lake District where you can burn off the Christmas calories. 

Pumping iron

Of course, exercise is always easier to do if you are having fun at the same time. One place where adrenalin boost and calorie burn go hand in hand is Honister Slate Mine, near Keswick. The site, which has a 900 year history, is home to the UK's first "via ferrata". "Via ferrata", which is Italian for "iron road", are common in the European Alps and use systems of metal cables, ladders and chains to help people clamber safely over vertical, rocky precipices. Honister have installed their very own "via ferrata" scaling the cliffs and rocky outcrops around the mine. Believe me, it's a lot more fun than going to the gym!

Find out more... www.honister.com

Honsiter Slate Mine, the Western Lake District

'Via ferrata' at the Honister Slate Mine

Pull ups

If you enjoy exercising in the vertical environment then there are even more options in the Western Lakes. Climbing is one of the best ways to tone your physique without resorting to the dreaded world of sit-ups and weight training. You don't have to be Chris Bonington or Edmund Hillary to enjoy rock climbing in the Western Lakes either; indoor climbing walls mean you can get all the enjoyment without the danger and in any weather as well. Keswick Climbing Wall is one the best places to give it a go, with a wide variety of routes suiting all abilities (first-timers can get lessons and tips from the staff). Just as much fun is Maryport's Clip 'n' Climb centre, where kids and adults can challenge themselves against a vertical assault course. 

Find out more...

www.clipnclimbmaryport.co.uk and www.keswickclimbingwall.co.uk 

Clip 'n' Cimb, Maryport, the Western Lake District

Clip 'n' Climb in Maryport

Treadmill

If you are the kind of person who likes to keep your feet firmly on the ground when you are working off the Christmas pud, then the Western Lake District has got plenty of it to work with. From a challenging trek up England's highest mountain Scafell Pike to a more sedate sojourn along the beaches and cliff tops of the coastal path, the options are endless. A couple of my highlights are the scenic wander from Whitehaven to St Bees (great clifftop views!) and the classic hike up Muncaster Fell.  

St Bees Head, the Western Lake District Coast

The super scenic Western Lake District coast from St Bees Head

Muncaster Fell, the Western Lake District

Muncaster Fell.. amazing views!

Exercise bike

When you are trying to get fit two wheels are better than four and a bicycle trip around the Western Lakes is a great way to get the blood pumping and see a different side of the area. For adrenalin junkies the hills of Whinlatter Forest host a network of tracks beloved by mountain bikers. National Cycle Route 72 weaves its way up the coast and Hadrian's Cycleway follows in the footsteps of the Romans along the Solway Coast to Ravenglass. For one of the prettiest rides around, I recommend a pedal through Eskdale. If you really want to burn some calories you could even try and cycle up the Hardknott Pass (I don't mind admitting that I had to get off and push at this point).

Find out more...

www.western-lakedistrict.co.uk/cycling-western-lake-district

Cycling in the Western Lake District

Mountain biking in Whinlatter Forest

Whitehaven - the perfect day out
Millom & Black Combe
Cockermouth
Ravenglass

Brian Sherwen Photography

Many images on this website have been supplied to us by Brian Sherwen.