Many people find exercising challenging because they don’t really know where to start – which can frustrating as well as demotivating. And if you haven’t got children or a dog you might not even know that your local area is literally packed with amazing places to start your fitness journey!
When I moved to Lewisham I felt exactly the same. As a personal trainer I didn’t know where to take my clients until I eventually carefully explored Lewisham in order to find the best spots for training.
In this article I’m going to share my knowledge and experience about the best places to start your fitness journey in Catford.
Where to start?
We all have different goals, likes and dislikes. Some people like running, some people like strength training, others like endurance or fitness clases…
So the first thing you have ask yourself is: What do I like? Which activities can I do or which would I be able to stick to?
These are not easy questions to answer. Sometimes we just need to try things to realise what exactly is it that we like and, most importantly, if we can stick to it.
If you like to do activities outdoors…
You are very lucky because Catford has a lot to offer. With a lot of green spaces in the area everyone can find something to do they like.
One of my favourite parks for running is Ladywell Fields, located just few minutes away from Catford Bridge Station. The park is really big and divided in three parts: Northern, Middle and Southern Fields.
The beautiful River Ravensbourne gives the park a particular (and special) feel of nature. It is always full of fitness enthusiasts like joggers, cyclists, etc. Walkers and passers-by give the park a really nice vibe as well.
Wanting something more challenging? Mountsfield Park is for you then. Located between Hither Green and Catford, it has very challenging running routes! My favourite area within the park is where the steps are located. It’s only a set of of 33 steps but try to sprint up 10 times with no rest… This will take everything out of you, believe me. Mountsfield Park is quite hilly and perfectly suitable to train both agility and speed.
Another fantastic park for all runners or walkers is Riverview Walk. In River Pool Linear Park you can’t get better running views; the flora and fauna are simply spectacular. The park is really wide (it goes all the way to Lower Sydenham) and it can be both challenging and a great place to train for endurance. And you can always take a bus from Sydenham 🙂
Ladywell Fields and Mountsfield Park both have fitness trails. Fitness trails are a series of exercise stations in a park setting; usually very basic and super easy to use.
I must admit fitness trails can be quite challenging and you are going to need some imagination to use them if you are a beginner. I do a lot of hanging leg raises, assisted pull ups, step ups and incline press ups with clients who are beginners. So, if you are a beginner it is probably a good idea for you to search online for some beginner bodyweight exercises you can perform using the fitness trails.
And remember that challenging also means rewarding! The hardest part is to get started. Once you get started, there is no way back, only forwards.
Catford is quite a busy area and cycling on the streets can be quite difficult and dangerous. Cycling when there are buses around is no fun and most definitely not relaxing.
One of the most impressive cycling routes is located around Waterlink Way. It is 8 miles long taking you through many parks and green spaces across no less than 3 boroughs: Catford, Lewisham and Depford. It is full of urban life and also very quiet.
Check out the Waterlink map.
Waterlink Cycling route is definitely one of the most impressive cycling routes in South London.
If you prefer indoor activities…
Leisure centres can be a fantastic place for the whole family when it comes to indoor activities. Ladywell Arena serves Catford and Ladywell residents with fantastic facilities for both adults and kids.
Up for a swim? Glass Mill in Lewisham has a huge variety of swimming classes for kids and adults.
Another great indoor facility is Fit4less Gym, located in the very heart of Catford. It is a very nice gym with great equipment in terms of variety.
Also, most church halls offer independent fitness clases ran by local instructors and fitness enthusiasts. So it is really worth checking your local church hall and enroll in a class if this is something that fits your style.
Catford has a lot to offer with beautiful outdoor spaces for runners, walkers, joggers and cyclists. It has well equipped fitness trails for those who want to try some strength activities and, as we saw, many church halls offer different activities as well as support groups. Leisure centres and private gyms ara available for those who enjoy indoor activities so there’s always something for everyone.
As a personal trainer I work with my clients in Lewisham borough as well as training then in all the above mentioned spots, so I hope this article has helped you gain a clearer vision of where you are going to start your fitness journey if you live in the area.
Good luck and if you need any help I’m just a message away!
Justina Triasovaite is a certified female personal trainer in London and also runs justinatraining.com, a site with useful information for those who are interested in general fitness and body transformation. A committed health and fitness fanatic, Justina is very passionate about helping people transform their lives. Learn more fitness tips and follow her journey on Justina Fitness Training or her Instagram account, @justinatraining.