STAFFORDSHIRE residents are being encouraged by the county's health chiefs to stay active and take advantage of the outdoor spaces on our doorsteps as we approach the third weekend of national covid restrictions.
The second national ‘lockdown’ came into force on November 5 and came with a limited amount of reasons to leave your house. Exercise in a public outdoor space with people you live with, a support bubble or with one other person is one of the permitted activities allowed.
Council health chiefs want to remind people that staying active is important for health and personal wellbeing and are keen to point out how lucky we are in Staffordshire to have so many great rural spaces to enjoy.
Being active is one of mental health charity Mind’s ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and walking is a low-impact option that is free and easy to access. Being active doesn’t have to mean getting out the lycra and expensive trainers.
Physical activity coupled with getting out in the fresh air is a proven antidote to stress, worry and anxiety and with acres of country parks, extensive canal towpaths and miles upon miles of routes Staffordshire is a perfect county for walking.
Cannock Chase - Staffordshire’s own piece of the National Forest, Apedale Country Park, the Pedal PEAK which links the county with the Peak District, the South Staffs Railway Walk, Chasewater Country Park’, the Roaches and Tamworth Castle grounds are just a small selection of the fantastic rural walking options available locally.
There is even a set of walks devoted to Staffordshire's famous fantasy author J.R.R Tolkien. The Staffordshire Tolkien Trail is a series of three linked walks that cover over 30 miles of Staffordshire countryside.
Dr Johnny McMahon, Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said: “Staffordshire really is the perfect county to enjoy an outdoor walk.
“Walking is an accesible activity open to all age groups and is a great option to help people stay active during lockdown when many gyms and leisure centres are closed.
“It is important to follow all the national rules in place but is equally vital we look after our physical and mental wellbeing. We want residents to keep safe, but stay active.
“I would encourage residents to responsibly enjoy the splendid rural landscapes that Staffordshire has been blessed with.”
An outdoors walk is not an option for many. For those not able to get outside the NHS has some equipment-free fitness routines that are great to do at home and short enough for you to easily fit them into your daily schedule.