It’s fantastic for your physical health

Being physically active is good for your health wherever you do it but taking your activity outside brings additional benefits. Studies have suggested that walking or jogging outdoors can bring down your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reducing the stress hormone cortisol. Fresh air helps promote good sleep, while sunshine gives you essential vitamin D. So building some outdoor activity into your routine can help you feel good and stay healthy during the COVID pandemic and beyond.

It supports your mental health and wellbeing
mother and son walking in the park

Numerous studies have found that spending time in nature has a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing. Stepping out into green spaces for your walk or run gives an extra lift to your mood and increases your feelings of self-esteem. And woods, fields, and parks are great places to practise mindfulness – taking some time out of your busy schedule to relax and use your senses to reflect on your natural surroundings.

Missing meeting up with friends at work, the gym, or coffee shop? Being active together outdoors is a great way to reconnect with people, build relationships and reduce feelings of isolation.

It’s easy to maintain social distancing

Essex is blessed with thousands of square miles of open space, you are never far from a quiet spot where you can safely exercise while sticking to social distancing guidelines.

It’s free, it’s always open, and it’s for everyone

You don’t need to buy a ticket to get outside and be active, or any special equipment apart from comfy footwear and clothing suitable for the great British weather! Whether it’s a stroll with the kids to the local playground, a sunny afternoon on the beach, or a jog around the block with a friend, it’s all free for you to enjoy whenever you want to.

Essex has many easy access paths which are accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility, as well as families with pushchairs. For more information on accessible countryside for everyone visit the Accessible Countryside website.

Find places to get active outdoors



Other ways to make use of outdoor spaces

Organised groups and organisations such as Walking for Health and Ramblers

Further ways and activities idea to explore the outdoors in Essex can be found at:

Apps can help you exercise outdoors
Stay Safe Outdoors
child playing on a swing

Now more than ever it’s important to make sure that we’re all doing our bit to make being outdoors safe for everyone.

You can now exercise alone, with members of your household, or with up to 5 other people from outside your household. Up to two households are permitted to gather in groups of more than six people indoors or outdoors, provided members of different households can follow social distancing guidelines. For more detailed guidance see the website.

Here are some useful resources to review before heading out:

  • The Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside campaign has tips and inspiration for enjoying the outdoors safely during the Covid pandemic.
  • The Woodland Trust has produced a useful guide to walking safely in the outdoors.