Forestry England’s top winter running trails to keep you moving this Christmas - Forestry England

People running in Salcey Forest - credit Rebecca Murphy
Salcey 5K - credit Rebecca Murphy

With new local restrictions and the shorter days of winter leaving many of us feeling cooped up and isolated, maybe now is the time to mix up your exercise regime to give your wellbeing a boost? Latest research has shown that inactive people became more inactive during lockdown so now is the time to break that habit!

The unpredictable weather can make it tempting to stay inside on the lead up to Christmas, but it’s important for our wellbeing to stay active and get a regular dose of fresh air. Going for a run in the nation’s forests can be a perfect way to get outside, shake off the cobwebs, and reconnect to nature!

The mental health benefits

According to studies, running on trails outdoors can improve your mental wellbeing, social inclusion and help to alleviate the winter blues. Research has found that almost 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that usually occurs during the winter months and can leave people with a persistent low mood.

Depression and anxiety cost the UK an estimated £70-£100 million a year, and studies have shown that spending as little as two hours a week in nature is an effective strategy for maintaining good mental health.

Ellen Devine, Wellbeing Projects Manager at Forestry England, said: “Skipping the gym in favour of a run or walk in the forest is a perfect opportunity to get on the path to fitness while also getting fresh air, recharging from the day and taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Spending time outdoors is a win-win for our bodies and our minds.”

Posted on: 15 December 2020

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