As the ultimate low carbon leisure activity and all round aid to good physical and mental health getting into walking is a no brainer. If you like walking on your own or with the dog you’re probably already doing it, but if you need a bit of socialising as an incentive, a quick online search for walking groups in the UK throws up the British Heart Foundation, the nationwide organisation Walking for health, and of course, the Ramblers with groups all over the country. If you search for local walking groups you’ll probably find groups for young people, old people, single people, speed walkers, slow walkers, long distance walkers, dog walkers… anybody really.
Cycle into the sunset
Once you’ve started using the bike more instead of the car you’ll find that you’re getting fitter and that the cycling becomes easier and maybe even a pleasure! We have a good friend who took that route, and now cycling is one of her main social, leisure and holiday activities. And of course, once you start cycling for pleasure, the cycling to get around the place becomes even easier. So if you fancy cycling off into the sunset here’s a link to Cycling UK to help find out about your local cycling groups.
get the bike gear
Whether you’re using a bike for work, play or just getting around, the right clothes can make the difference between being dry, safe and happy or giving up. I know it puts up the cost, but a helmet is a must (floppy ears optional) and please do get a bright reflective waterproof jacket or over vest and some decent lights. It’s a bit of a hobby horse of mine, but I just think that people on bikes wearing dark clothes with no lights must have a death wish. You can also get some semi-smart trousers and jackets that are water resistant and look good and will shake off all but the heaviest shower. A friend of mine says, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. So let’s get appropriate!
join a choir
Whatever your age or ability, and whether you’re into folk, jazz, gospel, classical, pop or show tunes, there’s a choir out there for you. Singing in a choir ticks all the well-being boxes. It’s sociable, creative, challenging, and great for the breathing, and if you can get there on foot or bike or bus or train it’s low carbon too. If you’ve ever wondered whether you might enjoy it, now’s the time to give it a go.
learn a new (carbon-cutting) skill
Going to a class to learn new practical skills combines so many of the things we know contribute to health and happiness; physical and mental activity, challenge and personal growth, and doing something sociable. So why not learn some skills that will also cut your Carbon footprint? Furniture repair techniques, clothes making, fashion up-cycling, vegetarian cookery. Let us know what you’ve tried.
Find Courses UK is worth a browse and links to courses all over the country, or just search for Adult Education near you.
start a repair shop
We know that we’ve got to ditch the throw-away culture and that repairing stuff is the answer. Out there there are people who have amazing abilities and experience of fixing things and making them work. But how do we find them? If you know people like that, or you are one, why not organise and publicise a local repair group? It could either be in a physical space which would make it easy for people to bring things along, or an online group that puts people with broken things in touch with menders. Let us know how it goes and share any lessons you learn with others on Living Greener who might want to do the same.
Take the plunge
Walk, bike, bus or train to the local pool and you are heading for some serious low carbon exercise with the added challenge of improving your swimming, or in my case, staying afloat! Can’t get there without a car? Why not arrange a regular car pooling pool session. The swimming.org website is full of info on lessons, clubs, local pools etc.