For many, lockdown can make you lose motivation to stay active and get outdoors regularly. We’re still allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise, and as long as you stay local, there is so much you can do outside to stay healthy and active. We all understand the physical benefits of exercising, but at Forestry England we know that doing it outside is also great for our mental health, so let’s all get outdoors and reconnect with nature.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you make the most of your daily exercise allowance. Whether you’re new to exercising, or a fitness fanatic, all of these activities are great for staying motivated during lockdown, and keeping your mind and body healthy.
1. Go on a winter wander
Getting your daily exercise can be as easy as going on a walk around your local greenspace or if you’re lucky enough to live close to one, a forest. Not only will the time away from your home give you a mental break from any stress or boredom, but you’ll also get fresh air and that all-important Vitamin D from the sunlight (weather depending!).
You could even sign up to the Walk 1000 Miles challenge and see if you can get to 1000 miles by the end of the year – a great chance to discover lots of new walking routes and special places.
2. Discover the joy of jogging
Why not start your day off with a brisk jog in your local area? Jogging is great for your heart health, helps build strong bones, and can even support your immune system. Going for a jog or run outdoors in nature makes your body work harder too and helps you to get in better shape, compared to treadmill running.
If you’ve never tried jogging before, check out the Couch to 5k app that guides you over a 9-week plan to get you able to run a 5k! If you live locally to one of our forests, check to see if there are any designated running routes – we have some 1k, 2k and 5k routes to get you started.
3. Explore your local area on two wheels
If you have access to a cycle path or are local to a forest with bike trails, why not try and get out on a short bike ride once a week?
Cycling combines physical exercise with the benefits of being outdoors and exploring new views. Going for regular bike rides can help you build muscle, improve your lung health, and even reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sign up for our monthly email newsletters packed with activities and ideas to help you keep connected to nature whilst staying at home.
4. Turn your local space into an outdoor gym
Just because we can’t hit the gym right now doesn’t mean you have to stop your workouts. The great outdoors is the perfect gym – take your workout to your local greenspace or forest, and enjoy the fresh air and space you don’t get with the gym.
You can do HIIT workouts, circuit training and even strength training, just take a mat with you and listen to your favourite workout songs to get you motivated!
5. Try plogging - healthy body, healthy planet!
For something a bit different, why not try plogging; the Swedish activity combining jogging with picking up litter. You can do this solo or with someone from your household, you’ll just need a pair of disposable gloves and a bin bag. Scan the streets for litter along your route and once the bag is full, deposit in an appropriate recycling bin.
Plogging not only cuts down on the amount of plastic making its way to landfill, it’s also a fun way to exercise without feeling like you’re really exercising and helping to take care of the planet too.
Don’t forget to also give yourself a chance to rest after your activity. We know you may not be able to get to the forest right now, but you can still enjoy the relaxing benefits of the forest environment with our virtual forest bathing videos.