Five ways to get active outdoors now spring is here

Whether its walking, wild swims or a spot of gardening, we’ve got the best advice on how to get outdoors and active.

The days are getting longer and the temperature is slowly rising, so it’s a great time to get active and outdoors again – especially if you’ve been taking it a bit too easy over the winter.

If your get up and go has got up and gone, then we’ve got five tips to help re-motivate you and get moving. But we’re not talking treadmills and spin classes, but instead walks in the fresh air, a spot of gardening or even a bracing wild swim.

Woman lacing a trainer in a field of daisiesCredit: Shutterstock / Dirima

1. Get out in the garden

Gardening is good for your mind and body

Spring weather can be hit-and-miss, but the mix of sunshine and showers is great for your garden.

If you like being outside, but the thought of walking, running or cycling leaves you cold, just 30 minutes of gardening a day can get you fit. Not only will you feel better for it – so will your garden.

Gardening writer Rosanna Spence, says: “It’s great exercise for your body and your mind without having to pop to the gym. For example, pushing a lawn mower for 30 minutes burns around 165 calories, depending on how vigorously you’re working.”

Advertisement
Couple doing gardening togetherCredit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture
Gardening can be a great form of exercise

By slotting in three, 30-minute gardening session a week, you’ll find your flexibility increases, weight loss may be aided, and you’ll even raise your heart rate doing certain tasks like digging.  

Gardening has a positive impact on your brain too. Spending time doing jobs in the garden, no matter how strenuous, will boost your mental wellbeing and can help with relieving stress and anxiety in a natural, gentle way.” 

2. Cold water swimming

Take the plunge outside

Wild swimming is more popular than ever, with increasing numbers of people enjoying the euphoric high a cold-water dip can bring. 

Kate O’Brien of Black Mountain Swims is an official Bluetits Chill swim coach. She says: “For someone who is completely new or starting out, look for a local group or swim guide. Facebook is great for this.”

There’s no expensive equipment needed to get started, either. “You don’t really need much more than a cossie, towel, and a dash of bonkers!” O’Brien says.

She also recommends a pair of water shoes to protect your feet, a woolly hat to keep your head warm and a warm drink in a flask for afterwards. If you really get into wild swimming, its worth investing in a changing robe.

Man in wetsuit and swimming hatCredit: Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia
Taking a cold water dip can be exhilarating

Water temperatures will gradually begin to increase over the next few months, but the sea won’t reach its warmest until late August or early September. Many people opt for a swimming wetsuit until the water gets warmer.

Be careful of cold water shock

O’Brien warns that cold water shock can happen all year round.

“Once you leave the water you need to get dry and dressed straight away, as your body will continue to cool for about half an hour as the blood goes from your core back out to your hands, feet, arms and legs.”

3. Get out for a spring walk

Put your best foot forward for better health

Walking is one of the best exercises for our health. It can help us live longer, sleep better and even turn back the biological clock.

Michael Hamlin, personal trainer and founder of Everflex Fitness, said: “Walking is a great way to improve overall health and fitness. Benefits include improving cardiovascular health, increasing endurance, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.” 

Advertisement
Couple walking their dog in a parkCredit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images
Take a spring walk in the park

Saga senior digital editor, Phillipa Cherryson, is a trainee mountain leader. She says: “I absolutely love walking in springtime. It feels like the world is coming alive again, with wildflowers, new leaves and blossom on the trees, and lambs in the fields. 

“Now the clocks have changed we’ve got longer evenings too, so instead of watching another boxset on telly, why not get out for a walk in the fresh air instead,” she says.  

Read our guide on how to take your first steps in walking or find a walking group to ramp up your miles and social circle.

4. Outdoor yoga

Connect with your body and the outdoors

Yoga is a great way to strengthen your muscles, reblance your body and improve posture and sleep.

Soul Connection Yoga instructor Karen Maidment says: “ A morning yoga routine is a wonderful way to bring nourishing energy to both mind and body and it’s my favourite time of day to practise.  

Man doing yoga outsideCredit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images
Outdoor yoga can help you connect to nature

“After far too much time indoors over winter, I love any reason to spend more time outside,” Maidment says. “The UK countryside is stunning in spring, so what better time to try outdoor yoga, be that in the garden, on a beach, in a woodland or even on a paddleboard.

“There are many studies showing the positives of exercising outdoors, particularly for mental health.” 

5. Step outside your comfort zone

Try a new outdoor activity

Spring is also a great time to shake things up and try something completely different. All of these sports are becoming more popular with older people – showing that you are never too old to try something new.

Cycling

Cycling: “Whether you prefer cycling or e-biking, spring is a great time to get back on your bike and enjoy the scenic views,” Hamlin says. “One of my favourite activities during spring is to go for a bike ride and grab breakfast with friends on the weekends.” 

Paddleboarding

A decade ago hardly anyone had heard of paddleboarding, or SUP (stand up paddleboarding). The activity has surged in popularity with people of ages taking to rivers, lakes and canals. It’s a great full body workout, since you have to balance and paddle at the same time.

Many companies offer sessions tailored to different abilities as well as individual or group sessions. Inflatable boards are widely available – you can even pick up one with your supermarket shop.

Kayaking or Canoeing

If you live near a body of water, kayaking or canoeing can be a fun and challenging way to stay active while enjoying the beauty of nature,” Hamlin says.

“Kayaking and canoeing are great cardio and upper-body workouts. A lot of activities require mostly legs, so this helps switch it up to help maintain a strong upper body.” 

Man rock climbingCredit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture
Why not try something completely different this spring?

Rock climbing

 “For the more adventurous, rock climbing can be a thrilling way to stay active and challenge yourself in nature,” Hamlin suggests.

“Rock climbing is like a physical puzzle in which your brain needs to be very focused and active to succeed. This level of focus is great for body and mind and will leave you feeling relaxed after you finish your climb.”

The British Mountaineering Club (BMC) has a database of climbing clubs across the UK to help you get started.  

Cherryson adds: “I got my first pair of climbing shoes at the age of 50. I go to an indoor climbing wall with friends some evenings and I love it. You see people of all ages, having fun and trying to work out the physical and mental challenge of getting to the top!”

Advertisement
Becky Fuller

Written by Becky Fuller she/her

Updated:

Becky Fuller is a fully qualified Personal Trainer, specialising in strength and conditioning for over 50s. Becky’s focus is helping people to become stronger both in body and mind, and to move well without pain. Becky also has many years’ experience working as a freelance journalist, writing for a wide variety of publications such as Screen Rant, Geek Feed, and Daily Actor. She also regularly reviews theatre productions for UKTW.

  • twitter
  • instagram