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Woman doing yoga in the forest

Get forest fit at home

Like us, you’re probably missing getting out and active in our forests during this lockdown period. We are starting to open some of our forests following the latest government guidelines when it is safe to do so, but if your local forest is still shut for a little while yet, never fear as having less time outdoors or limited space indoors doesn’t have to stop you getting or keeping fit.

We’ve put together five ideas to help you stay active whilst spending more time at home!

Runner header up stairs

Make the most of the space you have

Forests give us so much space to be active in all sorts of ways, but being at home doesn’t have to restrict you. Take a look around your home or garden and think about how you can best use it to achieve your fitness goals.

Is there a way you can adapt your routine or activity to fit the outdoor space you have available?  Or if you lack outside space, could you use stairs, chairs or anything else as part of a workout indoors, safely of course. Be imaginative and with a bit of thought and creativity, you can still maintain and improve your fitness while staying at home.  

Bedgebury Forest Runners can usually be found pounding the trails at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, but have swapped their trail running for indoor HIIT exercises and stretches.

Join them at 7.45am every weekday to have a go! Full details on the Bedgebury Forest Runners Facebook page.  

Setting yourself a challenge can be a great way to focus your exercise, no matter what level of fitness you have. For example, if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, the NHS Couch to 5k programme will support you to go from walking to running in your local area. Download the weekly podcast to get started - you can even choose to be coached by celebrities including Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sangeev Kohli or Michael Johnson.

If you’re already a seasoned runner, challenge yourself to explore the area near your home by finding a new route each time you go out. Or start exploring new types of workout to mix it up a bit (more on that later). It doesn’t matter what it is, set yourself a personal goal and go for it!  Remember that any kind of exercise has a knock-on effect on your mental wellbeing, so go on and give yourself a boost.

Runner on country road
Photo credit: Jenny Hill

Set yourself a challenge

Woman exercising at home

Try something new

From HIIT classes and dance-based fitness to yoga and Pilates, there are lots of exercise classes and activities available online so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. Cross-training is a great way to keep up your fitness levels and give a breath of fresh air to your usual routine.  

Not sure where to start? Sport England has a list of suggestions. There’s something for every level of fitness or ability, including things to do by yourself and things you can do with your family. 

Join the movement and use #StayInWorkOut to share how you're getting active during this time. Get involved

Now is a great time to focus on strength training or conditioning workouts. They’re easy to do indoors and will keep you strong and fit to return to outdoor exercise after lockdown. There are lots of videos online to support you, from all-round workouts to more specific ones related to cycling or running. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment – there are lots of simple exercises you can do using items around your home or without anything at all.  This Girl Can has put together a useful list of exercises to get started at home, from table top press-ups to living room wall sits – and they’re great for women and men alike.  

Woman doing sit ups at home

Focus on strength training or conditioning

Path winding through low lying forest with calming pink and light blue sky in the distance

Create a forest-inspired soundtrack

If you’re using your time outdoors to exercise, why not take the forest with you? Or let it into your home while you stay active indoors? 

It could be a playlist of songs that remind you of being in our forests or a woodland soundscape to provide a peaceful backdrop to your activity. It can be something to get your heart pumping or something to provide a bit of calm – whatever works for you or suits the activity, whilst helping connect you to the forest. 

Check out our favourite nature-focused podcasts for inspiration.  

To stay up to date with forest news and more ideas for keeping busy at home, sign up to our newsletter.

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