wild swimmer in open water

Have you decided that enough is enough and it’s finally time to shed those pounds, squeeze into those clothes, and generally get fitter and healthier? But do you, like many of us, find the thought of going to the gym a bit dull? Or do you just fancy trying something new in your exercise routine?

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One of the most important things when it comes to exercise is that it keeps your interest and you enjoy it – if not, you’re more likely to stop doing it. We know that running, swimming, cycling, etc, aren’t for everyone, so here are some alternative and unusual outdoor activities to help you get fit this year.

Geocaching

Geocaching isn’t anything new but it’s still an activity that seems to fly relatively under the radar – which is crazy when you consider how amazing it is! Essentially a grown-up treasure hunt (although it’s great to do with the kids as well), you use the GPS on your phone or a dedicated GPS device to locate hidden treasures, often containing trinkets for you to take and replace with one of your own.

Read more about the activity in our beginner’s guide to geocaching, and for more information on how to get involved, the Geocaching Association of Great Britain is a great place to start.

Wild Swimming

Swimming is one of the best ways to get fit and healthy, but the thought of just going backwards and forwards for hours in a pool can leave some people feeling a little cold, especially if it’s in a busy public pool.

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This is where wild swimming comes in. As the name suggests, it’s like normal swimming, but out in the wild! You get to enjoy all the benefits of swimming but in the great outdoors getting closer to nature – just make sure it’s safe and permitted before you go jumping in, however.

Visit the Outdoor Swimming Society to learn more about where you can go wild swimming, as well as details about open water swimming events near you.

Man metal detecting in a field

Metal Detecting

This could be the perfect hobby for those who like the idea of going for a nice walk but find it a little bit boring (heathens). Once you’ve got your metal detector, you’re free to go off searching for buried treasure and potentially dig up a rare and precious artifact worth millions. You can also go beachcombing if you don’t want to shell out for a metal detector and still want to get out and about and find something potentially valuable.

Again, make sure the area is safe to go metal detecting on, and that you’re not trespassing – some places require a licence to actually do it.

Visit the National Council for Metal Detecting to learn more about the pastime.

Sheep Trekking

If you’ve ever been on a hike in the countryside but have always thought there was something missing then this could be just what you’re looking for.

Good Day Out have teamed up with a local farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park where you can roam the stunning local countryside with your very own sheep in tow! It’s a little something different that might even tempt the kids outdoors once in a while.

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Pokemon Go

The mobile phenomenon that is Pokemon Go took the world by storm in 2016, and even though interest has dropped somewhat since then, the game remains a fantastic way of getting exercise without even realising it as you track and catch the virtual monsters outdoors. If you have children permanently glued to computer games, then this could be the perfect compromise to get them outdoors and exercising.

Quidditch

Now hear us out. Yes we know that quidditch is the sport in Harry Potter played on broomsticks, but it’s now been turned into an actual real life sport that us muggles can play. And it’s becoming serious business now with a Premier League and World Cup (UK came third in 2016), so if you fancy a team sport that’s a little bit different then maybe quidditch is for you.

real life actual quidditch

The QuidditchUK website has information about local clubs if you want to try your hand at it.

Volunteering

Want a healthy dose of life satisfaction with your new-found fitness and wellbeing? Try volunteering with a charity. There are loads of charities that do great work outdoors to help people and communities, and so not only will you be getting fitter, but you’ll be doing something really worthwhile in the process.

The Conservation Volunteers is a fantastic charity for those wanting to volunteer outdoors, although there are plenty of others, so you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.

What are you going to be doing to stay fit this year?