9 ways to get active outdoors – Heart Matters magazine

With warmer days and lighter evenings, now is the perfect time to be active outside. We have ideas on how you can be active for 30 minutes on at least five days of the week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity like walking, cycling and gardening can help to lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Try building some of these outdoor activities into your day. Remember that every 10 minutes counts:

1. Go for a walk

Grandparents walking with granddaughter

You can go for a walk almost anywhere – in a local park or woods, along canals or just around the streets where you live. You might find that as the evenings get lighter, you enjoy an after-dinner walk.

Walking outside will help boost your energy levels, release feel-good hormones that reduce stress and anxiety and burn calories that can help you manage your weight.

If you’re looking for something more than a stroll, check out our guide to surprising walking activities.

2. Plan a trek or a climb

If you’re up for a bigger challenge, why not take on a longer walk or climb up a hill? We have picked some great long-distance paths from around the UK. Reward yourself with a healthy picnic at the end of your walk.

3. Get cycling

Cycling to work can be a great way to build this activity into your day, or just cycle for fun with friends and family. We’ve got 6 tips to get you pedalling.

Cycling in the great outdoors helps to burn calories, which can help with weight loss, strengthen and tone your leg muscles, and improve balance and coordination.

4. Be active in a park

Seniors playing frisbee

There’s so much you can do in a park – play a game, like rounders, Frisbee or football, or work out at an outdoor gym, where equipment can include bikes, cross-trainers and weight apparatus.

Playing a game or exercising outdoors can be great fun, and social too, helping to cheer you up and improve your mood. We’ve picked ten of the best activities you can do in your local park.

5. Get into the garden

Spring is the perfect time to get going on those gardening jobs you’ve been putting off over winter. We have ideas on what to sow through spring and early summer for great results with both flowers and veg.

Gardening is great for improving your mood, can help build your confidence through your achievements and helps relieve stress and anxiety.

6. Join a Green Gym

Find a Green Gym near you for a chance to learn conservation skills such as tree planting or pond-building, with an emphasis on health and fitness. The short, sociable sessions are suitable for all abilities.

Visit our Calories Calculator to see how many calories you burn while doing different exercises.

Benefits of being active outside

  • Improved mood.
  • You burn more calories, because varied terrains and weather put different demands on your body than working out indoors does.
  • Helps you stay in shape and improves the health of your heart.
  • Boosts energy levels.
  • Helps you sleep better.
  • Boosts vitamin D, helping to prevent osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones.
  • Allows you to enjoy different scenery and get to know your local area.
  • Remember to check with your GP before starting any new forms of exercise

Updated 4th April 2022

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