Welcome to the physical activity page!  You may have been directed here from another page or you just want to find out more about increasing your physical activity.  We hope that you find some of the resources helpful.  The great news is that no matter your current baseline or medical background, physical activity can help you to feel better in yourself physically and mentally, reducing stress and improving fatigue.  It can improve symptoms of many medical conditions too.  If you have a musculoskeletal issue that you think might inhibit your ability to increase activity, check out our musculoskeletal page for advice.

See further below for some options that could be local to you, which may be free of charge!  You can of course google other options in the area or pay for privately led groups and classes.  Here are just some ideas.  If you would like support finding the right option for you, please contact our social prescribing team, who would be very happy to signpost you in the right direction. 

Physical Activity Guidelines Infographic: Health benefits.   

The recommended advice for physical activity is in these infographics.  If you are just started out, in can be daunting, but remember: 

  1. Some is good, more is better
  2. Move a little more, sit a little less
  3. Make a start today, it is never too late
  4. Every minute counts - even if you start of with just a few minutes 

Physical Activity Guidelines Infographic: Weekly Recommendations  Click Here  

Before we go further, have a think about the following questions. 

This is all about you: you are in control of the next steps in your journey...  

  • How do you feel about your current levels of physical activity?
  • What would being more physically active do to help you, in your life?
  • What might make it difficult for you to be more physically active? 
  • What might help overcome these challenges?

Would you like more support?  Get in touch with our social prescribing team. 

23 1/2 hours by Dr Mike Evans: The benefits of physical activity 

Dr Rangan Chaterjee (GP) takes about how you can do exercise in 5 minutes in your own kitchen!

PARK RUN: "We believe in movement for everyone"

Free.  For everyone.  Forever.  

It's not about the run!  Walk, jog, volunteer, spectate. 

EVERYONE IS  WELCOME (and now Woodside has the coffee shop open!)

Parkruns are free, weekly, community events all around the world.

Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior parkruns for children aged four to 14.

Parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate.

New forest Parkruns: Brockenhurst (Wilverley) and Lymington (Woodside Park)

I want to just start moving more and being more active... 

20 minute chair exercises sitting down workout - "seated exercises for seniors, elderly and everyone else."

 Click here for a link to walking groups in the area and here for a list of local walks!  There are often walks from Milford, Lymington and in the New Forest - contact our social prescribing team for more info. 

Strong & Steady: Open to everyone over the age of 65 to help with strength and balance 

Active 10: Exercise...made easy.  Walk your way to health 

Couch To 5k: A running plan for absolute beginners 

I have a medical condition or am pregnant and I'm not sure what I can do... 

Pregnancy.  See the resources on Moving Medicine here.  

Moving Medicine: This website gives some advice on physical activity in the following scenarios:

  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Type 2 Diabetes 
  • Rheumatic Disease 
  • Musculoskeletal pain 
  • Stroke
  • Amputee
  • Postnatal 
  • Pregnancy 

Swimming is a great form of exercise.  There is also evidence that cold water immmersion has huge benefits for mental health.  See our separate page here.  

What about for children?

Click Here for the Physical Activity Guidelines  

Resources for mental health 

PE With Joe: I think we're all familiar with PE with Joe Wicks now...Aimed at Kids and families 

Homeschooling ideas: Fun sports ideas for kids 

Moving Medicine: This website gives some advice on physical activity for children with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and mental health. :

I want to step it up a notch, maybe try some sports...

Yes, it is totally daunting starting a new club - you are not alone! 

It doesn't matter if you are a complete beginner or an expert, and no matter your age, most people get a little nervous joining a new club.  The New Forest is rife with sports clubs and social groups - they cater for all levels (including walking sports) to advanced, including:

Lawn Bowls

Tennis and Squash

Triathlon Clubs 

Cycling Groups 

Running Groups

Swimming and Sea Swimming 







Outdoors activities, indoors activities, you name it - there will be something for you in the New Forest.  Try googling an area of interest, or if you're stuck contact our social precsribing team who will be happy to signpost you in the right direction for you.  


Physical activity is just one of the ways we can improve our infection resilience, recover after infection and boost our immune system.

What else can we do?

Looking for more direction or support?

Our social prescribers can help identify what might work for you.

Looking for some specific training support?

Your health care team can refer some people to Exercise on Referral schemes, with accessible personal trainers in certain local gyms to help get you off on the right foot.  Ask any health care professional at your surgery or the social prescribing team for more information.

The Green Health Hub is a website run by the New Forest National Park Authority. It has information on local activities e.g. gardening, arts, volunteering, cycling and walking.

Updated by Dr Nichola Osborne April 2023