Fields in Trust

HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Park activities to help you be more active a day at a time

Posted on 31st August 2019
As our Summer of Parks week on health and wellbeing continues we suggest seven simple activities you can do at your local park to help you be more active.

Green spaces are proven to help us stay physically and mentally well, places we can all move, breathe, run and play. Our local parks are green gyms, free at the point of use, which everyone in society can use to keep fit and be active.

Here, we suggest seven simple things you could do in your local park to help you be more active - one for each day of the week!

Monday - go for a dawn jog

Start your week off with a jog around your local park or green space and set yourself up for the week. Morning exercise is proven to help boost your metabolism and improve both your mental and physical energy, meaning you'll be better prepared to get your week off to a great start.

Tuesday - try the outdoor gym equipment

Why pay for a gym membership each month when your local park is nature's gym! If you don't want to miss leg day though, many green spaces have outdoor gym equipment which is completely free to use. There's lot of different types of equipment out there from bikes and cross-trainers to bench presses and pull-up bars. Why not try out a new piece of equipment each week?

Wednesday - wander around the park on your lunch break

We've reach hump day, hurrah. Not just that but the middle of it! Instead of sitting at your desk find a park nearby and go for a wander. Lots of parks will have guided routes or perimeter paths, or if you want a bit more of an explore there's plenty of apps available to help you enjoy parks in your pocket.

Thursday - have a kick-around after work

The end of the working week is nearly upon us. Perfect excuse for a kick-around then! All you need is a ball, of any shape or size, and a bit of grass. If it's just you then try some keepie-uppies and see if you can better your score each week. If there's a few of you then you might also need to remember a couple of jumpers, for goalposts!

Friday - cycle to work choosing a route through a local park

Leave the car at home and use pedal power to get to the office. Escape the roads by seeing if you can plan your route to be as green as possible incorporating parks and green corridors. What better way to enjoy the end of the week than with the feeling of the breeze rushing past and greenery all around you.

Saturday - join a group fitness session

The weekend is here and it's going to be a busy one! Start it off amongst friends and neighbours by joining a group fitness or activity session at your local park. It could be one of the hundreds of weekly parkruns that take place across the country, or perhaps one of the free group exercise classes organised by Our Parks - earlier this week our Summer of Parks heard from participants at an Active Spaces session run by Our Parks at Western Road Recreation Ground on how regular sessions have benefitted their health and wellbeing.

Sunday - add a Nordic twist to your afternoon stroll

We all love a Sunday afternoon stroll round the park, enjoying the last of the weekend and clearing our heads ahead of another busy week. Why not try Nordic Walking? It's a more moderate form of exercise than a stroll, but you'll be ensuring your whole body is benefitting. If you've never done it before it's recommended taking part in a quick taster session to make sure you get the technique right - there's more information on the benefits and how to give it a go from NHS Live Well.

Our Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces research found that parks and green spaces provide people with over £34 billion of health and wellbeing benefits every year whilst saving the NHS £111 million annually based solely on a reduction in GP visits and excluding any additional savings from prescribing or referrals. Green spaces are good, they do good and they need to be protected for good.

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