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Step into Spring by keeping up the good habits

Published: 30 March 2021

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Movement matters

While we all still need to follow the latest advice, we can hopefully soon start to drop more of the restrictions that we've been living with for the last year.

As things open up, it's worth casting our minds back to the height of last spring's lockdown and taking stock of some of the 'ordinary' things that we came to cherish, which contributed so much to our physical and mental wellbeing.

According to a recent study from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, physical activity was clearly shown to have improved mental health and wellbeing during lockdown. Decreases in depression and anxiety were greatest in those who managed to be active for more than 30 minutes per day.

Getting some green

Exercising indoors can help you meet the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines for adults to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, but to get the most out of your movement, head outside. For many of us, the daily dose of exercise in lockdown became the highlight of the day.

A walk, bike ride, run or even heavy gardening gives us a boost of essential vitamin D and being surrounded by nature helps us to destress by boosting feel-good endorphins and serotonin, brightening our mood. Some people even swear by wild swimming but don't just head for the nearest piece of open water - follow safety advice and avoid already-busy spots like Frensham Pond.

Staying active doesn't always mean 'sport'…

Moving more isn't all about cycling up Box Hill in lycra, or entering a half marathon. These things are great for a challenge, but to boost our health it's simple things that can count the most like walking to the shops, taking the stairs rather than a lift, or spending less time sitting (at home and work).

Making a conscious effort to build activity our everyday lives gives us a base layer of fitness that to build upon – for example by taking longer walks further afield, or joining a gym or exercise class.

…but clubs & instructors need our help

Surrey's community sports clubs will need our support as we emerge from lockdown as most will have had little income for the past year. So if you've always fancied giving a particular sport or pastime a go, now's the time. The BBC's Get Inspired pages have details of just about every sport from Akido to Yoga.

If you want to join an exercise class, sign up now while everyone will be finding their feet again - EMD UK's class finder lets you search for workout and dance classes in your area.

Whatever you do, be mindful

However you get your outdoor activity fix this spring, take some time to reflect what it is that you enjoy about it. While many of us missed team sports or going to the gym, we may also have taken more notice of our local environment as we made the most of our daily exercise.

In the rush to get back to normal, it would be a shame if we started to take for granted the things that did so much to boost our physical and mental wellbeing, when our old lives were put on hold.

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