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Outdoor Activities for Before & After Lockdown Ends
As our days grow warmer, the UK is beginning to open up as the stay-at-home rule ends. Now's the time to start thinking about all those fun outdoor activities we've had to put on hold due to COVID.
While it's still important to check your area's coronavirus lockdown rules to see what restrictions are in place, this article shares different outdoor activity ideas for getting back out into nature.
How to Enjoy the Outdoors as Everything Opens Up and Weather Gets Warmer
Possibly feeling anxious about starting back at your local gym or swimming centre is completely understandable after all this time. So, check to see if they have outdoor training areas. Or plan to go at quieter times – check this by calling ahead and asking what times they foresee will be quieter.
Any anxiety you're feeling can also be eased by getting one or two activities you're looking forward to already marked on the calendar. For example, meeting up with your bestie at a Farmer's market or an afternoon walk around your favourite park.
Depending on how you feel, begin by getting outside more on your own. Then with your immediate family. Start with walks around your neighbourhood, the local park, or along a river or beach if you're lucky enough to have them close by.
Then ask a friend to join you and with time, perhaps their family too.
If you begin to feel anxious when out and about, slow your breathing down and take deep breaths. Breathing in and out through your nose and from your core, rather than from just your chest, will help.
Pro-tip: Here's an easy-to-do breathing exercise that taps into the body's parasympathetic nervous system. It's a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system and is called the 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath Exercise.
- Start by placing the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through this entire exercise. The idea is to exhale through your mouth around your tongue – try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Then close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Fun Outdoor Activities to Enjoy Alone
Whether you're single or just not ready to meet up with others yet, here are some ideas that can be enjoyed out in nature before and after lockdown. Start putting them on your calendar now so you can get outside and start enjoying more fresh air!
- Walking, running, rollerblading, and hiking
- Flower markets and Farmer's markets
- Fish & Chips or ice cream at the seafront
- Check out a new cycle or walking path
- Go for a swim at your local swimming pool or lido
- Enjoy walking around a local zoo or aquarium
- Make up a picnic basket and drive out in the countryside to enjoy, or stay close by taking it to your local park
- Rock climbing
- Kayaking or Canoeing
- Outdoor sports/fitness classes
Being Healthy and Motivated to Move More is All in the Planning
Here's a little tip for tricking your mind into happiness and the flow of getting out into nature again:
Thinking about the thing is often just as enjoyable as doing the thing. Anticipation is like a 2 for the price of 1. You end up doing the thing, AND you get happy and excited anticipating that thing.
If you want to powerfully boost your happiness levels, start anticipating ~ now!
Put something on your calendar today that gets you excited. It doesn't have to be a big thing... or it could be.
A little road trip to a part of the country you've never been before. Somewhere out in the countryside with lots of walking or cycling paths. Or if you have a family, how about packing up the kids with a bat and ball or a frisbee? Venture out into the late afternoon sun with a picnic blanket and some healthy on-the-go snacks listed below.
Getting it on the calendar and the pleasure it stirs in you is the first step to creating new experiences for yourself, and reigniting your motivation to move more as lockdown ends.
Outdoor Activities to Enjoy with Toddlers, Kids & Teens
Here's a list of fun outdoor activities to help you get back into nature with toddlers through tweens:
- Decorate a shoebox and go on a scavenger hunt collecting rocks, acorns, twigs, and pinecones. Then at home, turn the treasures into animals by adding googly eyes, pipe cleaners, feathers, etc. Scanger hunts are fun no matter your age.
- Hunt for worms.
- Go on a botany adventure, collecting different leaves and bark pieces, then at home, use some parchment paper and crayons to lightly rub over them and create a drawing.
- Collect different rocks for painting and create a rock garden.
- Take story time outside with a picnic blanket.
- Play balloon tennis with your hands.
- Play handball against the back wall.
- Kicking around a football.
- Create an obstacle course using hula hoops, chalk, and paper circles.
- Make mud pies.
- Climb trees.
- Play hopscotch and jump-rope.
- Get creative with sidewalk chalk or water-soluble paint.
- Sack races using old pillowcases.
- Three-legged races.
- Egg-and-spoon races using hard-boiled eggs, which can then be enjoyed as a healthy protein snack when you're done!
- Family bike rides and rollerblading behind a pram while describing what you see along the way.
- Play hide-and-go-seek.
- Make some Bubble Stationery by adding a little food colouring to a bubble solution. Set up different containers with different colours, then blow the bubbles onto plain stationery paper and discover the different patterns they make.
- Simply blow bubbles and let the kids chase them all over the park or your own backyard. Or make it a little more fun and give your children a small water spray bottle so they can "chase and shoot the bubbles down," pretending they're aliens invading Earth. Their mission is to save you by not letting the bubbles get away.
- Ask another family to help you set up a "secret spy mission" by leaving a trail with sidewalk chalk, drawing arrows, and spelling out a secret message. One family draws the arrows, and the other follows them to record the letters of a message.
And for teens, help them organise some new experiences, such as:
- Meet friends at a local field for football, baseball, or frisbee.
- Go for a run in a new part of the neighbourhood.
- Play hide-and-go-seek… yes, teens love this too!
- Set up a personal challenge afternoon among friends with an obstacle course and who can do more push-ups, burpees, etc.
- Rock climbing
- Kayaking or Canoeing
- Outdoor sports/fitness classes
- Set up a campfire and grill sausages and toast marshmallows in the woods, being mindful of putting out the fire when you leave.
- Hire electric scooters with friends and check out a new neighbourhood.
Nourish Your Body
After not being out for a while, it can be easy to forget to nourish ourselves with a healthy routine. Here's a list of healthy on-the-go snack ideas to remember to pack into a small rucksack, shoulder bag, or pram-bag as you get out and about more this spring:
- Container of your fave healthy leftovers
- Fruits such as apples and oranges travel well
- Pre-cut veggie sticks, baby tomatoes, and hummus
- Mini packs of nut butters and crackers
- Energy balls
- Raw nuts
- Boiled eggs
- Sticks of cheese
- Kombucha drinks to help ease any car sickness and keep you feeling energised
- Tuna in a pouch
- Slices of grilled chicken or beef strips
- Mini plain Greek yoghurt or cottage cheese
And don't forget some napkins, picnic forks, etc.
And now to you – we'd love to hear what fun outdoor activities you've got planned as the UK opens up and we all get to spend more of our time playing in nature again. Check out more tips for healthy living in 2021.