How to be more active outside

What improves your wellbeing, lifts your mood, needs no special equipment and is free to use?

Fresh air!

Research backs up what we’ve been told all along; fresh air and being outdoors really is good for your physical and mental health. Studies show that being outside, especially in natural surroundings, lifts your mood, reduces stress hormones, boosts your immune system and improves your circulation. Add movement into the mix for twice the benefit.

These ‘green gym’ ideas will get you started.

Warm up

Take your time to get started especially if the weather is cold. Breathe through your nose. Walk for a little while before you pick up your pace or begin more challenging exercises.

Stride it out

Challenge yourself by building up your distance or speed up to beat the clock. Vary your route with different terrain – like grass, stones or gravel, and incorporate inclines, steps and hills.

Upper body strength

Use a park bench or a tree for standing press ups or triceps dips - as demonstrated in the top left image.

Interval training

Alternate fast and slow walking, or sprints with jogging. Set a landmark or streetlamp as a goal. Or you could add a star jump or squat intervals to your walk.


Get little ones involved to improve both balance and focus.

Walk the tightrope

Maybe not literally! Find a safe kerb – maybe in a quiet carpark – to walk along and practice balancing. Or use a long piece of timber on the ground in your garden. Can you look ahead as you walk?

Hang out

Grab an overhead bar at the park or a supportive branch and experiment taking weight into your arms. Use your muscles as though you’re going to do a pull up.


Version 1: Step back and slow bend both knees into a lunge. Version 2: Step back but take your foot further over to the opposite side and curtsy


It’s probably harder and more energetic than you remember as child! Start with a few jumps and work your way up from there.


Pitch in to help look after outdoor spaces. Check in with your local wildlife trust, stately home or your neighbours.

Cool off

At the end of your session, slow down and take a steady-paced walk. Round off with a few gentle stretches.

Discover even more ways to get active and build healthy habits including relaxing yoga practices, a online workout and a delicious cook along recipe at the CABA physical wellbeing hub 

CABA provides free lifelong support to past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff, and their close family members. 

If you’re worried about the impact of the pandemic on you and your family, find out how CABA can support you.