Get outdoors and improve the health of all the family
Summer is here and it is a great time to make some healthy changes. The past few months have reminded us of what really matters; our health. We all have things we’d like to improve, whether that’s losing weight or getting more physically active. Here is some advice on how to take advantage of the great outdoors and get the whole family fit this summer.
Plan your day with safety in mind
Have the right kit – the right shoes, a waterproof, a map, water
· Tell people where you are going if visiting the hills, a remote area or out to sea
· Choose an activity or location within your existing skills and experience level
· Check the weather forecast and tide times
· Only swim where it is safe and permitted
· Avoid popular honey pot sites – this will help maintain social distancing
· Weekends and afternoons can be very busy – choose another time if you can
· Discover new places and hidden gems
· Leave your car at your accommodation if possible
· Check if services you need such as toilets, baby changing and other facilities are available
· Take hand sanitiser and use face coverings in line with local rules
The summer months offer us all the perfect opportunity to make changes to improve our mental and physical health. Getting active is good for your body and mind, and there are lots of easy ways to get active. Taking a brisk walk every day will help shed the pounds, but there is nothing better than heading out into the great outdoors to take in some of the wonderful countryside and coastal sites close to home. There are fabulous woodlands, beaches and picnic spots everywhere. And you don’t have to just go walking. Cycling has become ever more popular during lockdown and swimming in rivers and lakes is another wonderful way to get the blood pumping and improve your health. A survey taken at the start of lockdown revealed that one in four of us admitted that we were more active than before lockdown.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Walking helps you to stay fit and healthy
This increased to one in three as lockdown continued, with combatting lockdown weight gain and helping mental health given as the top reasons many people are turning to some form of physical exercise. There is so much to choose from to keep you active from dusk to dawn.
From aerial assault courses to horse riding treks, there is a massive range of outdoor family activities and endless possibilities for days out packed with family-friendly outdoor activities.
No matter where you are, lakes and waterways make for not only incredibly scenic views but also cover a whole range of activities.
The United Kingdom’s 15 National Parks also contain some of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring landscapes.
You’ll find some of the best walking, cycling and horse riding locations and a whole host of other adventure activities in the spectacular parks.
Add nearly 50 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring our famous countryside and keeping fit.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently have different guidelines, advice and timelines for reopening tourism.
So do please make sure you check the respective official sources for information before you travel.
CHECK OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO STAY SAFE
Whether you are heading for the hills, planning a coastal stroll or fancy splashing about in the sea or a lake, make sure you take time to check out what you need to do to stay safe.
Visit www.discovernorthernireland.com to learn more about heading outdoors safely.
All you need to have a great time is a pair of shoes and a spirit of adventure
Northern Ireland is a place made for walkers – whether you’re a take-it-easy rambler or a hardcore trekker. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a spirit of adventure and you’re set to go. With stunning views, rugged cliffs and wide-open spaces, there’s always something to inspire you around the corner, across that river or up the next hill.
The Mourne Mountains are a spectacular sight to behold, while the breath-taking Causeway Coastal Route and the Glens of Antrim feature three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Walkers in Belfast get the best of both worlds. Colourful parks and peaceful towpaths show you a side of the city you can only fully experience on foot.
STUNNING SCENERY: Sketrick Island in Strangford Loch (Photo: Northern Ireland Tourist Board)
The impressive Belfast Hills and Lagan Valley Regional Park delight with river paths and panoramic views. Elsewhere, the Sperrins, stretching from Strabane in County Tyrone to the shores of Lough Neagh, are one of Northern Ireland’s largest upland areas. Wild, untouched and exceptionally beautiful, it is also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you’re a serious walker, you’ll love the adventure of discovering moorland summits using routes such as Robbers Table and the Craignamaddy Circuit. And there are many more places to discover such as the mostly flat walks on the banks of Strangford Lough and in the Fermanagh Lakelands.
Getting physical every day
Adults should aim to be physically active every day. They should attempt to do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles in the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms on at least two days a week.
It is also recommended that people do at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity every week, or 75 minutes of vigorously intense activity a week.
However, people need to make sure the type and intensity of activity is appropriate for their level of fitness, and take medical advice if necessary.
KEEPING FIT: Jogging, cycling and swimming are good for your health and are enjoyable too
Moderate activity such as brisk walking, riding a bike and hiking will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing. Vigorous-intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. In general, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.
Examples of vigorous activities include jogging or running, swimming fast, or riding a bike fast or on hills.
For more information on staying safe, please go to www.discovernorthernireland.com
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