Keeping your body moving is essential for good physical and mental health and now more important than ever during the current pandemic. One in four people in Britain experience mental health problems each year, and one in six of us report them to our GP every single week. BUT it’s been scientifically proven that spending time in the great outdoors is a powerful natural anti-depressant, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 30%. (Ref: Mountains for the Mind)
What are the benefits?
- Boost self-esteem
- Lift your mood
- Reduce the risk of depression
- Improves sleep quality, while reducing stress and anxiety levels
What can I do?
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk
We think this is a great quote to live by. With the right equipment (and a bit of grit and determination), most activities you would do in Summer, are possible in Winter with more planning and preparation.
Yes, this might seem slightly insane, but a few nights under the stars can be a wonderful tonic for the soul, especially if you can switch off from technology at the same time. Many campsites are staying open longer this season, or head to Scotland where the wild camping rules are more relaxed. Think about toasty sleeping bags, a campfire, and hot chocolate!
Please make sure you check the current guidance about travel restrictions in your area before you go.
There are hundreds of low-level paths, trails and woodland parks to explore across the UK, but if you do feel like venturing a bit further make sure you allow extra time. Check sunset times and remember to pack a good torch, it gets dark much earlier in the Winter and a simple piece of equipment could mean the difference between a fun day out and a night lost! Pack your bag with spare layers like a synthetic down jacket, spare batteries and torch alongside all-year essentials such as bivvy bag, map, compass, whistle, food and water. You could add a small gas cooker plus teabags, sugar, powdered milk and biscuits – a brilliant morale booster and adds to the adventure on a winter day out.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Messing about in boats doesn’t need to just be a summer activity. There are many lakes, gentle rivers, and of course canals that can be accessed with relative ease. Websites to search include British Canoeing, UK Rivers and Go Paddling. Please make sure you understand the risks of water base activities and stay within your abilities at all times.
Whether you choose to run on roads, through woodland or across the fells, running is an amazing way to clear your head and get your heart pumping. Get your trainers on and set your own pace, if heading to the hills make sure you take the usual equipment to keep you safe, tell a friend (or even better take on with you).
Too Cold and Wet Outside?
We know, sometimes it’s just too much effort to go outside. Why not try some of these workout apps to keep fit in the comfort of your own home…
Nike Training Club
Nearly 200 free workouts across strength, endurance, yoga and mobility. Sessions range from 15-45 minutes and are designed to help you see and feel results.
How much does it cost? It’s free.
The nation’s favorite, all Joe’s training sessions, PE with Joe and the new Wake Up with Joe videos are on youtube for a fun workout any time.
How much does it cost? It’s free.