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6 easy ways to get fit in Suffolk in 2019

PUBLISHED: 17:35 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:35 25 February 2019

The 2018 OVO Energy Women's Tour - Stage 1, Framlingham to Southwold. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The 2018 OVO Energy Women's Tour - Stage 1, Framlingham to Southwold. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

© SWpix.com (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health has some great suggestions for how to improve your health and fitness in Suffolk in 2019

Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health.Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health.

At last the temperature is rising, and like most people in Suffolk I have enjoyed the glorious sunshine these past few days.

With this warmer weather comes the opportunity to put a spring in your step.

Although many assume that getting fit involves rigorous activity, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Everyday activity can be a great way of getting your blood pumping and your heart beating faster.

Why not stride into spring and walk to work or the shops instead of driving?

A brisk 10-minute walk each day has plenty of health benefits such as reducing your risk of dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Exercise also increases endorphins and can boost mood, self-esteem and sleep quality.

Any activity is better than none at all, so try squeezing some steps in during your lunchbreak or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

If you started small but are now ready for a new challenge, then the 2019 Suffolk Walking Festival takes place between Saturday 11 May – Sunday 2 June.

Our 2018 Suffolk Walking Festival left an incredible 24 million footprints across Suffolk with walks from dawn until dusk and some trails including twilight safaris and beachcombing for beginners.

This year sees 14 fantastic long-distance walks, all of which give an opportunity to see scenic Suffolk at its best, with trails around Minsmere, Lavenham and Knettishall Heath Nature Reserve taking place.

There will of course also be shorter distance routes too, so please don’t walk away if you’d rather not rack up the miles.

If you don’t want to take a hike, then how about swapping striding for swimming? If you have joint problems, then check whether your local swimming pool holds exercise classes. Not only will the water help to support your joints while you move but the exercise may also result in weight loss which can help to reduce the pressure on your joints. Or why not take the plunge with the Great East Swim?

Whether you’re looking to try an open water swim for the first time, or you’re searching for the ultimate challenge, the Great East Swim offers a selection of distances to suit your ability, from 250m up to 10km. After you’ve made a splash there’s a farmers’ market as well as plenty of musical entertainment to enjoy while you dry off.

I appreciate that aqua aerobics may not be for everyone, so why not feel perkier by participating in parkrun? Every Saturday at 9am there’s 10 different parkruns to be a part of in Suffolk.

Parkrun welcomes all ages and abilities, so there’s no need to worry about sprinting over the finish line. Instead you can come along and walk or gently jog the 5km whilst getting out of the house and making some new friends. There’s also junior parkrun for those aged between 4-14 who want to complete the 2km course.

We’re raising a generation of runners (and hopefully a future Olympic Suffolk sprinter) by supporting the Daily Mile initiative. This simple scheme is proven to help children to learn better by getting them out of the classroom for fifteen minutes every day to run or jog, at their own pace, with their classmates. To date 64 Suffolk schools and nurseries, representing over 13,000 children, are delivering the Daily Mile to their pupils, showing that they recognise the importance of encouraging young people to be active.

Running can be good for the community as well as for your health if you choose to join GoodGym. During 90-minute sessions volunteers run together to community initiatives that help with everyday tasks. These range from cleaning and tidying for charities to painting fences for schools and pruning community gardens. Again, all abilities are welcome, as long as you’re willing to lend a helping hand. The GoodGym Ipswich group meets on Monday evenings at 6.30pm at the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront Building.

Whilst you’re out running, you may well spot our Chief Executive Nicola Beach on her bike. If like Nicola you’re a huge fan of cycling, you’ll be pleased to know Suffolk will host the opening stage of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Monday 10 June. I’m delighted to welcome the tour back to Suffolk for a fifth year. I hope that this year’s race inspires even more people to take up cycling and to also participate in the wide range of events Suffolk has to offer, such as Women on Wheels. I’m so proud that we’re the first venue to be confirmed for the 2020 edition of the race too, meaning the wheels are certainly in motion for our county to continue to celebrate cycling.

Hopefully some of my suggestions will help you get the ball rolling. Why not give one of them a go or if you’re already doing any of these things, try to do them more frequently, or try something new to shake up the routine. No matter what your age or current fitness ability, there’s strong scientific evidence to show that being physically active and moving more can help you lead a healthier and happier life. Trophies and medals aside I think we’ll all agree this is undoubtedly the best prize of all.

Want to get fit in Suffolk? Here’s how

The 2019 Walking Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever so keep checking the website for all the latest updates. www.suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk

Sign up for the swim of your life here www.greatrun.org/great-swim/great-east-swim

Find out more about participating in your local parkrun www.parkrun.org.uk

Feel good and do good in Ipswich www.goodgym.org/areas/ipswich

Be wowed by the Women’s Tour and find out where you can watch it here www.womenstour.co.uk

Learn all about getting active and other ways to improve your wellbeing www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/projects/5-ways-to-wellbeing

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