Don't wait for spring, get outside and do something active now

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 January 2020

Geoff Porter and Kate Ponting with some of the unusual items found at the Otter Estuary litter pick. Ref exb 14 19TI 0914. Picture: Terry Ife

Geoff Porter and Kate Ponting with some of the unusual items found at the Otter Estuary litter pick. Ref exb 14 19TI 0914. Picture: Terry Ife

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Guest columnist Kate Ponting, Countryside Education Officer for Clinton Devon Estates, talks about the benefits outdoor activity.

Do you make January a time for fresh starts, resolutions or merely a bleak month to be endured before better weather?

Invariably for me, this time of the year is one of looking ahead, as I finalise plans for events and engagements for the warmer months.

Although I will be stuck inside for the most part, I do love this time of year.

Low light creates a muted palette, with trees silhouetted against a winter sky and if you look closely, the green shoots of spring are not far away.

When I can escape the office, it is to lead a wonderful group of volunteers, who turn out to undertake practical conservation work on the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths and other parts of the estate.

Giving something back to our local area is an important part of many people's lives.

Our communities, local organisations and amenities depend on this effort and generosity of spirit.

Some of my volunteers will gift over 150 hours of their time to make small but important contributions to local wildlife and the work of our conservation charity.

I have noticed, that in coming together to doing something practical, it is actually the volunteers who benefit the most.

Outdoor activity promotes both physical and mental health.

In return for a few hours work, heart rates, blood pressure and stress levels are reduced.

Even when time and circumstance prevent us from volunteering or working outside, we can all take time daily even for short periods, to connect with the world around us.

So don't wait for spring, get out and do something now.

As we travel to school, work or during day to day activities, notice the nature around you.

Walk through the countryside, make connections and let it improve your wellbeing.

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