AUTUMN SPORTS

As the weather gets cooler, we know it’s tempting just to become a permanent sofa fixture with a packet of Hob Nobs for company, but the experts at Kent Sport have the following advice to keep you motivated through the winter months…

Workplace Challenge

The Workplace Challenge is a great way of getting active and challenging your colleagues along the way. Anyone can sign their workplace up for the free challenge, and start inviting colleagues to join them in logging and tracking their physical activity via the Workplace Challenge website and smartphone app. The aim is to encourage one another to be more active, instil some friendly competition, and compete against other workplaces across the county.

Kent’s Workplace Challenge currently has almost 300 workplaces across Kent signed up, with 1,500 individuals logging their activities. The challenge includes all sorts of physical activity, from walking to the shops, running, cycling or playing your favourite sport, and awards points based on the duration, intensity and type of activity undertaken. It’s a wonderful tool to help motivate and inspire you to be more active as the night’s draw in, and helps workplaces to be mindful of the benefits of their employees being active all-year round. www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/kent (app available for iOS and Android)

Active 10

Active 10 is a fantastic little app that can help keep you out and about and walking through the autumn and winter. The app is part of the national One You campaign, and aims to educate people about the benefits of 10-minute brisk walks each day. Expert advice from Public Health England suggests middle-aged and older people could really benefit from adopting a brisker walking pace, with 10 minutes a day reducing the risk of early death by 15 per cent. The app keeps track of all your steps throughout the day, and records how many “active 10s” you have done, setting goals to keep you moving and improving over time. This handy app can be a real motivation, and the brisker walking pace might just help to keep you warm when the cooler autumn and winter breezes start to bite! www.nhs.uk/active10 (app available for iOS and Android)

Parkrun

Parkrun has transformed the world of running in recent years by championing the benefits of group running and offering free weekly group runs across the country. Gone are the days of trudging along the streets by yourself, struggling for motivation, because with parkrun you can take part in free, timed 5km group runs every Saturday morning at 16 locations across Kent and Medway. Thousands of people seem to agree it is a brilliant way to get active, meet likeminded people and stay motivated. Some parkruns have over 100 participants turning up on a weekly basis, of all experience levels and all speeds, so even if you’re a total beginner, you’ll find someone else at your level and be made to feel welcome. All parkruns are free to take part in, but runners should register in advance at www.parkrun.org.uk. For those looking to get active with their kids, there are also 12 2km junior parkruns across the county.

Breeze rides

Breeze is a British Cycling initiative to provide free guided bike rides for women of all cycling abilities. Even if your bike has been gathering cobwebs in the garage for years, you can dust it off and head along to a ride near you. There are rides taking place all over Kent every month, on different days of the week, and all you need to do is book in advance for free and head along with your bike to meet some lovely new people and enjoy a ride through Kent’s towns and out into the countryside. The rides are grouped into three categories – easygoing, steady and challenging – so there is something for everyone, and the routes provide a mixture of road and traffic-free cycling. Visit www.letsride.co.uk/breeze for more information, or www.kentsport.org/breeze for the latest rides across Kent and Medway.

Explore Kent

Have you ever wanted to go out for a walk or cycle, but couldn’t decide where to visit? Explore Kent are on hand to help, with a huge collection of mapped walking and cycling routes to choose from. The Kent landscape is beautiful in autumn and winter, with miles and miles of protected countryside and rights of way, making it one of the best parts of the country to get out and explore. On www.explorekent.org you can search for activities near you, and download guides for walks, country parks and bike rides. Going outside and enjoying the wonderful countryside Kent has to offer is not just great for your fitness and physical health but it does wonders for mental health and wellbeing as well, providing a great way to leave the stresses of everyday life behind. So visit www.explorekent.org and find a route today that will help you stay healthy and feel fantastic throughout the autumn and winter months.

Kent Sport is the county sports partnership for Kent and Medway. Supported by Kent County Council and Sport England, Kent Sport aims to help people become more active, and reduce the rate of inactivity in the county, by supporting organisations in the sport, physical activity and health sectors, and providing access to sport and physical activity opportunities for all. Visit www.kentsport.org for more information, and try out our “find your sport” quiz by visiting www.kentsport.org/quiz