Get up, get moving, enjoy a hobby – activity boosts mood. Join the Five Ways Challenge today to receive tips, ideas and inspiration on how to stay active whether you are in self-isolation or social distancing.

Regular physical activity provides numerous physical and mental health benefits. It can improve sleep, help manage stress, and even reduce your risk of developing a range of long-term health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

National guidance recommends that adults should aim to be active every day, accumulating 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, with some muscle-strengthening activity on two days. But you don’t have to take part in large chunks of exercise to get the health benefits – every minute of activity counts.

Some is good, more is better – so start slowly and build up gradually.

Get active outdoors

Lockdown restrictions allow us to enjoy one session of outdoor exercise each day, so here are some tips to make the most of it, enjoy some fresh air and help your body create vitamin D.  You can meet one other person from another household in an open public space to exercise, but remember to stay local.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get active, if you have some space and are able to follow the government guidelines on social distancing. The Active 10 app, from the NHS, is a great way to help you monitor and gradually increase your brisk walking levels over time.

Couch to 5k is a nine-week programme of podcasts that does exactly what it says on the tin – taking you from the couch to running 5kms. And (not)parkrun! is a great lockdown opportunity to submit a 5K walk, jog or run on a route of your choosing – record up to one activity a day, with your fastest time each week included in the weekly results table.

Make sure you’ve got the cycling basics covered by following this advice from British Cycling.

If you don’t have your own bicycle, you can pick up a Beryl from designated bays in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole and pay as you ride or use a day pass to explore further.

Ask your HR department if your organisation offers a Cycle to Work scheme which provides support with purchasing your own bicycle.

Paddling activities, including kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) are permitted as daily exercise within the current guidelines. Check out the Go Paddling website for guidance on places to launch, trails to follow, where to find local paddling centres and advice for buying your own.

Orienteering combines map reading with getting active in the great outdoors. There are quite a few permanent orienteering courses throughout Dorset which are open to the public to use in parks, forests and urban areas. Some courses use the Oriento App which you can download on to a GPS-enabled smartphone then use it to scan a QR code at each point to show that you have found it.

Immersion in cold water gradually reduces stress levels in everyday life and generates a greater sense of wellbeing. There are 14 lifeguard stations on the beach between Sandbanks and Southbourne where you can swim under supervision during the summer months. Chill is an organisation that offers sea swimming sessions designed for people who have mild or moderate depression and anxiety, and they will be available in Dorset soon.

Join Viviana and Laila from the Here For Each Other staff wellbeing team to explore why sea swimming is such a tonic:

Get active indoors

Many of us are spending a lot more time at home than we might like, which is why staying as physically active as possible is more important than ever. We could all do with a boost to feel better right now – and you don’t even need to leave the house to do it!

Join the Movement is a campaign with lots of resources for people of all ages and abilities, including those living with a long-term health condition, to help you keep active at home.

A nine-week at-home exercise plan for beginners. The Couch to Fitness programme consists of three videos every week, each with three coaches all working at different energy level, so you can get fitter at your own pace.

In 2020 Park Yoga ran weekly Virtual Park Yoga session in place of their usual outdoor events. These are all now easily accessed, for free, via their YouTube Channel. The videos are also available in British Sign Language, in partnership with Deaf Get Active.

FitOn – free exercise videos and workout plans led by celebrity trainers, including cardio, strength training, HIIT, yoga, and Pilates.

Her Spirit – designed especially for women and girls, this app focuses on nurturing your “body, mind and fuel” and helping you to find your spirit.

Daily Yoga – guided classes of yoga, Pilates, meditation, 50+ workout plans that suit from beginner to advanced which provides health benefits for both your mind and body.

5 Minute Home Workouts – Short home workouts, offering quick routines with timed rest and exercise periods.

EXi – an NHS approved app which prescribes a personalised physical activity programme tailored to any number of 23 health conditions, with an extensive library of workouts including home workouts ad outdoor guided activities.

Find more fitness and activity apps using the ORCHA App Finder.

Have we missed something?

If there’s something you feel we need to add to these resources, please get in touch.

Let us know