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Get fit in the Forest

Spring is upon us. It’s time to come out of hibernation, stretch a few muscles and hit the forest fitness trail. Forests and woodlands are the perfect training grounds for exercising your body and soothing your mind. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Walk before you run

A simple walk in the woods is a great start. It is not only good for your body, it is good for your soul. To keep your body in tip-top condition it offers fresh unpolluted air, ascents and declines as mild or as challenging as you choose and so much to capture your attention that you forget you are exercising. Find out about the walking trails at our locations.

And for your soul? Forests are scientifically proven to be good for your mental well-being. A walk in the woods can reduce anxiety, lower stress levels and deliver a sense of natural well-being. The Japanese have known this for a long time and practise “shinrin-yoku” which translates as forest bathing – spending time in a forest setting to experience a sense of calm. There is even talk of our own UK doctors prescribing a daily walk in the woods for stress and anxiety disorders.

Cycle happy

The Forestry Commission, who maintain the public forests on behalf of the nation, understand the fitness potential of our woodlands and want to share the message. This is why they have launched Cycle Happy, a campaign to encourage families to go cycling in the forest. 

Check out the activity sheets showing you how to make the most of forest cycling for your mind, body and soul. Which pretty much sorts out your whole life!

There is also a guide to the top 15 forests for cycling in England. These include forests and woods that are at, or close to, all the Forest Holidays locations. Worth a mention too, that Scotland boasts the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, close to Strathyre and the Argyll Forest Park, next to Ardgartan Argyll.

10 ideas for your forest fitness programme

1. Take a hike: from a gentle stroll to an arduous expedition, explore and get fit

2. Take your bike: see how to Cycle Happy, above

3. Hit the running trails: it beats pounding the tarmac and dodging the traffic

4. Create a forest gym: from jumping off logs to climbing trees you can build a full workout

5. Go Ape: treetop adventures that will use muscles you had forgotten about

6. Go orienteering: whether it’s Gruffalo Orienteering or geocaching, explore the forest from a new angle

7. Choose yoga: where better for meditative thoughts than the tranquillity of the forest?

8. Shoot some arrows: try your hand at being Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Or any other Forest Holidays location!

9. Walk with hawks: learn about life on the wing for our birds of prey - with some gentle exercise yourself.

10. Ride a horse: find the bridle paths and explore the forest from a higher perspective.

Kick-start your forest fitness programme on a Forest Holiday. Some or all of these activities are on offer at each of our locations, on the doorstep of your luxury woodland cabin. It couldn't be easier!

Get active in the forest

As the Cycle Happy campaign shows, our friends at the Forestry Commission are clear about the benefits of forest fitness. This is why, in partnership with Sport England, they have launched a programme of activities and events, which is open to everyone.

From late spring onwards, there are various sporting endeavours you can take part in, including Gruffalo Orienteering, and, still to be confirmed, a cycle challenge for families in September. 

And in May, there is a Plank World Record attempt at three Forestry Commission sites including Sherwood Forest, where 200,000 people will all plank at the same time!

Time to wind down

You can easily incorporate a forest fitness routine into your Forest Holidays break. And, once you have walked, cycled or jumped around the forest you will have earned the pleasure of winding down in your own private hot tub to soothe your aching muscles. Sound fair? Book your forest fitness break today.

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