It's August and there is no better time to explore the great outdoors.
In the coming weeks we will be looking at the many ways that we can get active this month and breathe in the fresh Lincolnshire air!
One of the positives things that I have found from lock down is that I have taken the opportunity to get outside more and explore the local countryside. It is absolutely amazing just how many footpaths, bridleways and permissive byways there are within just a few minutes of my door step, many of which I was never even aware of previously.
I have also been blown away by some of the beautiful countryside views, parks, rivers, bridges, beaches as well as stunning architecture in buildings like Lincoln Cathedral and the Castle. As a born and bread ‘yellow belly’ I think sometimes we simply take for granted just how beautiful Lincolnshire is and how fortunate we are.
I have really enjoyed dusting the cobwebs off my bike and exploring all of these newly found cycle routes. I have found motivation from tracking all of my cycle routes by using Strava (there are other GPS apps as well!). Not only has this tracked how far and how long that I cycled for, but it has also given me an element of competition. Strava, which is a free app to download, will not only track my route but it also provides segment challenges where my personal achievement sits on a leader board. This allows me to challenge myself but also to compete with other people. Now I know not everyone likes to be really competitive, but for me this has really helped to spur me on. On one of my favourite routes I have managed to knock 45 seconds off one of the short segments and I am now in the all time top 10 for that particular segment! You can set Strava up to track a run, cycle, walk and swim and so I would definitely suggest giving it ago to help track your activity, like me, you might find that it can get quite addictive!!
It has also been great seeing my family getting more confident at riding their bikes. I have a relatively young family, 6-year-old and 8-year-old children, and I never thought the day would arrive when we can all get on our bikes together. However, over the past few months, we have all learnt to cycle more competently and been able to have some really fun adventures on our bikes. Unsurprisingly,we have had a few minor collisions, causing some grazed knees and elbows (all part of the learning process!). Despite this, it has been a valuable opportunity for us to get outside as a family, in the fresh air, a dose of Vitamin D (which we get when our skin has exposure to the sun), getting our hearts pumping and improving an important balance and co-ordination skill which cycling offers.
In addition to being able to go out with the family, I have also enjoyed being able to zoom off on my bike on my own in an evening, once the children have finally gone to sleep. This bit of time to myself, in the fresh air, has allowed me some time to reflect and think about things with a clear mind. Every time I have been out for a bike ride, I always return home feeling freshly invigorated, slightly sweaty and exhausted,but always feeling much better both mentally and physically for my efforts.
So in summary, being able to use the outdoor environment has been invaluable to me and my family recently. This has provided a safe space to be able to comfortably socially distance, and been a playground for cycling, running and walking opportunities. Perhaps importantly, we often tend to forget that the Lincolnshire countryside is totally free to use. So, if you haven’t already done so,I can highly recommend exploring the local area that you live, and I’m sure you will find some hidden tracks that you didn’t know about before. Tighten up those shoelaces, pump some air into the bicycle tyres and enjoy the beautiful Lincolnshire cycle-ways and countryside as it is a fantastic way to keep ourselves physically active!!!
If you would like support to increase you activity or to take up any of our free healthy lifestyle programmes find out more here
Nigel Stephenson, Move More Lead
July 28, 2020