As we welcome in the New Year, many of us are setting out on new fitness regimes and healthy lifestyle kicks to make ourselves feel great in 2017. But, when we’re in the same place, carrying out the same routine, it can be difficult to find the inspiration to maintain these goals throughout the year. However, there are other, more effective options. A change of scenery is often all we need to give us that bit of motivation to meet our aspirations, and with many miles of varied outdoor landscapes, there’s no better way to get fit and healthy than on an outdoor activities break in Dorset.
Dorset is home to some of the most exciting watersports opportunities in the UK, and if you want to inject some physical activity into your itinerary whilst staying in a Dorset holiday cottage, a day out on the water is the perfect choice. With sailing classes, sea kayaking, paddle boats and diving, there is an endless array of opportunities to get active in the Dorset seas. Take it a little steady with Jurassic Kayak Tours, where you’ll take in the dramatic World Heritage coastline with expert guides, or push yourself with hang gliding or windsurfing. Areas as diverse as Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Studland, Bournemouth and Kimmeridge all provide enviable watersports opportunities, whether you’re trying a sport out for the first time or you’re an enthusiast. Testing balance, cardio fitness, strength and stamina, watersports are a fun and fruitful way to get fit and healthy on the Dorset coast.
Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport, making it perfect for those who are looking to improve their fitness in 2017 but are not interested in standard gym regimes, providing instant gratification with every outing. Dorset, too, adds even more drama to the mix, with an extensive network of thrilling trails surrounded by stunning views. For the novice, Dorset provides plenty of gentle trails for all the family on the national cycle network routes that take you from Dorchester to Lyme Regis and beyond. However, the county also boasts many challenging trails with rough terrain, steep drops and unexpected obstacles to navigate – perfect for the adrenaline-seeking cyclist. Dorset Rough Riders mountain biking group recommend location such as Wareham Forest for single track routes and The Purbecks (which they call ‘God’s Playground’) for “big hills and stunning scenery”. There’s even a dedicated bike trail and skills park in Symondsbury complete with ramps and jumps to hone your technique or try something a little more challenging than ground-level cycling. In the process, you’ll find the varied elevation of mountain biking improves balance and gets your heart and lungs pumping, while your leg muscles work hard to power you around the course.
With dramatic cliffs all along the coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and climb in Dorset, either with a club for beginners or with friends if you’re experienced. If you’re new to the sport, there are many indoor climbing walls where you can learn the ropes and the basic techniques, as well as outdoor excursions with expert guides. However, for the seasoned climber, you could spend an entire holiday in Dorset simply trying out new routes. Top rope up cliffs, lead climb on huge free-standing rock faces or try bouldering without ropes on the many large rocks on the coast. Climb Dorset features information on safety, climbing grades and locations to look into, some of the most popular climbs being Portland’s lofty cliffs such as The Cuttings and Dancing Ledge at Swanage. Climbing is an extreme sport, but the health benefits are innumerable. The sport is extremely strengthening for the arms, legs and core, improves cardiovascular fitness, increases flexibility and also benefits the mind, reducing stress and boosting mental strength. What’s more, it’s the perfect activity to try with a group of friends on your Dorset holiday break!
For the keen hiker, Dorset is something of a mecca of trails, scenery and some of the best coast paths in the country. The county offers something for everyone when it comes to hiking, so whether you’re a beginner who has set themselves the resolution of getting outside more or are an experienced walker looking to challenge yourself on the very hilly coast paths, Dorset is the place to be. Walking is one of the most accessible activities around – no equipment is needed to start out, simply a pair of comfortable shoes or hiking boots and a little wanderlust. It’s also fantastic exercise, improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening the joints and working many muscles in the body in a low-impact manner. There are countless walking routes in Dorset - take a short 1.5 mile ramble around Corfe Castle to get your blood flowing or simply stroll along one of Dorset’s scenic routes to see sights such as Old Harry Rocks, Dancing Ledge or Weymouth Pier.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions has been to try something new this year, coasteering could just become your new favourite hobby. This activity is relatively new to the outdoor sports scene, and combines elements of rock and water activity. Here, participants can learn about rock climbing and scrambling, before safely jumping from heart-racing heights into the sea for a refreshing swim through caves and tunnels. During this activity, not only do you get to immerse yourself in adrenaline-fuelling activity, you will also learn about rock strata, formations and fossils, all of which are uniquely fascinating in Dorset. As Dorset Coasteering explain, areas such as Dancing Ledge offer unrivalled cave networks, tidal surges and jumps, all of which make coasteering a truly incredible experience. Plus, featuring climbing, swimming and jumping, this is an all-round workout to get the heart beating and endorphins running.