Get active outdoors
Think of Scotland’s outdoors as an open-air gym that’s free to use, open 24/7 and right on your doorstep.
Parks, gardens, greenspaces, woodlands and local paths are ideal settings for a spot of green exercise. Perhaps you like to relax by taking a gentle stroll or by tidying up the garden. Maybe cycling to work starts the day on a high note or you look forward to evenings playing sport in the park.
Whatever pace you set yourself, being in the outdoors and getting active is great for your physical and mental health and well-being.
It’s recommended that adults do at least five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise per week. For children, it’s at least 1 hour every day. Getting active outdoors could be an easy way for you to meet your target.
Learn about green exercise and its benefits.
Step to it
Parks and woods are a brilliant backdrop for your walk, cycle or jog. Soak up the surroundings and say hello to your neighbours as you get your daily dose of green exercise. You can probably reach your favourite local greenspace via a traffic-free route – so you can leave the car at home.
Active travel is another option if you struggle to set aside a specific time for outdoor exercise. Just choose to walk or cycle whenever you have to go somewhere and you’ll soon start to clock up the miles.
Discover your local path network today.
Join a Health Walk
You’re not alone if you find it easier to exercise regularly as part of a group. Hundreds of organised Health Walks take place across Scotland each week to help people get active outdoors together. You’ll have fun and make friends too.
Find a Health Walk near you on the Paths for All website.
Work out in a Green Gym
Ditch the dumbbells and pick up a pitchfork instead. TCV Scotland runs Green Gyms where you can stretch your muscles for the good of local greenspace. This is conservation work at its most rewarding: you’ll improve your strength and stamina, get some headspace to de-stress, and make a lasting difference to the environment too.
Go for gold!
Medal Routes is a Ramblers Scotland initiative to get people walking more. Scotland’s 700-plus Medal Routes are circular walks of varying lengths, which begin and end at a local ‘walking hub’. Find your nearest hub and go from the Bronze route (15 minutes to complete) to Silver (30 minutes) to Gold (60 minutes).
The Medal Routes app is now unavailable.
Find a group or event
Outdoor activities and events are a great way for adults and children to get active and enjoy the outdoors.
Groups and clubs across Scotland can help you to get into a range of outdoor activities from climbing and canoeing to hiking and biking. Other organisations run green exercise programmes that can help you to stay healthy or recover from ill-health.
Search for outdoor events across Scotland.
Use the Sport A–Z on the sportscotland website to find the governing body for any sport. You can then search the governing body’s website for clubs near you.
deafscotland has launched three short films to promote walking to Scotland’s 1 million people who have hearing loss and tips on inclusive communication so we can all join in the drive to improve our physical and mental health. The films are delivered using British Sign Language, captions and sound and are designed to reach a broad audience.
The films are currently accessible on YouTube:
Find out more
Listen to our latest Podcast 'Mountain Biking Trail Therapy: Our Natural Health Service in practice, with Paul MacFarlane'