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Open Features: Beat The Bulge With National Trust

"After all the festive indulgence, the National Trust has the perfect solution to beat the bulge in the New Year,'' says Sally Airey.

"Throughout January, as part of our month-long Outdoor Gym Challenge, National Trust places are hosting activities to help the nation shed those extra Christmas pounds in the great outdoors - all that fresh air and beautiful scenery is proven to be better for you than exercise in an indoor gym. From trim trails to military boot camps, we have something to help everyone kick-start their 2011.''

With January traditionally the time for New Year’s weight loss resolutions, and for thousands of Briton’s to sign up to costly gym memberships, the Trust’s outdoor gym activities will give people the triple benefit of exercising outdoors; it’s better for you – both physically and mentally - and much lighter on the pocket.

Recent research found that exercising in a natural environment boosts people’s physical and mental health more than going to indoor gyms, even in winter [1]. Not to mention the financial drain of gym membership and the infamous gym drop-out rate as those good intentions dwindle throughout the year.

Starting from today the National Trust has a raft of activities designed to motivate and invigorate the nation. So, why not ditch the gym membership and try one of our refreshing outdoor gyms to lose those extra pounds?

Castle Drogo, Devon

Wind Down and Warm Up, 27 December – 2 January 11am-4pm

Relax after Christmas with a walk in the fresh air of the gardens and wider estate of the last castle to be built in England, enjoying views of the wilds of Dartmoor. The length of walk is up to you - you can opt for a gentle stroll around the garden, the one mile ramble around the estate, or for those looking for a bit more of a calorie burn you might want to take on the four mile hike down through the wooded Teign Gorge to the rushing river below.

Children can also follow a trail around the gardens and grounds to discover the extreme activities some people take part in order to ‘Wind Down and Warm Up’.

Winter admission charges apply plus a £1.50 charge for the children’s garden trail map (includes a prize).

Please note the walks are self-guided.
Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01647 433306.

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Green trim trail, 1 January onwards 10am – 5pm
Come for a stroll around this tranquil rural estate set alongside the fast-flowing River Test. For something a little more energetic to shift those extra Christmas pounds, try the outdoor green trim trail, a mile-long walk around the park land with ten simple exercise points which are sure to work your core muscles and raise your heart rate. The whole family can have a go, and you can see how your performances compare to the achievements of a professional athlete.

Grounds admission charges apply.

For more information please call 01794 340757.

Nymans, West Sussex

New Year, New You, 1-31 January 10am – 4pm

Looking to start the New Year in a healthy way? Take the Nymans exercise apparatus trail around the garden all month, grab a skipping rope from the visitor reception, ask about the walks in the woods and take part in a light 30 minute personal training taster session in the garden from the Sussex Boot Camps team at 11am every Tuesday and Thursday during January. You can also try the healthy eating menu in the restaurant and locally produced health foods in the shop.

Garden admission charges apply.

Booking is not required for this event,

For more information please call 01444 405250.

Castle Ward, Co. Down

Running routes, 1-31 January 10am – 4pm

Explore this truly beautiful 332 hectare walled demesne with walking, running and cycling trails galore. Popular running routes are a 3.2 mile relaxed every day route and a 2.4 mile woodland route, which is an interesting run as the terrain works every muscle and there's plenty of stunning scenery to keep the mind alert.

Grounds admission charges apply.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 028 4488 1204.

Penrose Estate: Gunwalloe and Loe Pool, Cornwall

Outdoor gym trail, open throughout January

Run, walk or cycle along the spectacular coastal path onto the estate at Loe bar, round through the woods and into the parkland. Stop off for an intense workout on five pieces of outdoor gym apparatus all made from the timber on the estate with the help of the local surf club.

Normal, free admission applies.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01326 561407.

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Woodland fitness trail, open throughout January 10am – 4pm

On this spectacular country estate overlooking the River Thames, take on the Cliveden outdoor fitness challenge. Follow the trail through the woodlands to burn calories and build muscle with various workout frames and equipment, all made with wood and materials from the estate.

Access from the Woodlands Car Park only.

Normal admission prices apply.

No booking required.

For more information please call 01628 605069.

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

Regiment Fitness, 8, 15, 23, 29 January 10am - 11am

With acres of space to enjoy with fabulous panoramic views over the Vale of Aylesbury and along the Chiltern Ridge, these military style fitness classes are sure to get you motivated to shed the Christmas bulge. The fully qualified instructors all have military backgrounds and aim to help you achieve what you want from your fitness program by setting you personal goals. Train outside, feel great inside.

Bring warm, waterproof clothing for winter training.

First session free then £5 per session.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information visit www.regimentfitness.co.uk or call 01582 658569.

Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland

Roman Wall Adventure, 9 January 10am – 3pm

Running through the wild landscape surrounding these remains of the Roman Empire, take part in an adventure day with activities from snowshoeing and fire making to scrambling and abseiling. Warm up as you build emergency snow shelters as well as other unusual activities on this energetic family day out to kick start the New Year.

Price to be confirmed.

Booking is essential for this event, please call 01434 344314.

Hardwick Estate: Stainsby Mill, Derbyshire

You balance equipment, open throughout January 8.30am - 6pm

In There are a number of ‘You Balances’ – small balancing/keep fit style trim track activities on the walk round Miller’s Pond. They will improve core strength while working off those all important calories. Why not also pick up a walk leaflet with route distances marked and orienteering course details.

Booking is not required for this event.

For more information please call 01246 850430.

Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

Cycle in Styal, open Wednesday – Sunday throughout January, 11am – 3.30pm

Get on your bike and go for a six mile family cycle ride around the historic Styal Estate at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. It’s a ride of contrasts, starting at Quarry Bank Mill’s main car park, cycling through the 18th-century village of Styal, passing close to Manchester Airport and then crossing two rivers on the edge of Wilmslow. The route also runs through Arthur’s Wood and a 200 year old beech tree planted by Quarry Bank’s founders – the Greg family. Keep a look out for winter wildlife here including buzzards and barn owls.

There is no charge for the cycle ride. Leaflets available from the car park kiosk or Mill Reception. Please note non National Trust members arriving by car will need to pay a car park charge of £4. If arriving by bicycle there is no charge.

Please be aware that the cycle route crosses the busy A538 in two places and care must be taken. Children may need assistance from an adult.

For more information please call 01625 445845.

Tyntesfield, North Somerset

Geocaching, throughout January* and all year round

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. Roam around in the great outdoors, search for containers, called geocaches, and then share your experiences online.

The series of geocaches at Tyntesfield are a new way for people to explore and engage with this beautiful estate, while getting that all important exercise. Focusing on wildlife and habitats, Tyntesfield’s six geocache trails are all located on public rights of way and so are accessible year round without charge. Not only will you work up a sweat but you will learn about the biodiversity of each location and participate in family-friendly activities at each stop.
Wellies or walking boots are recommended. Ground may be uneven and slippery.

*Parking is only available within the Tyntesfield estate when the estate is open to the public. The new season starts 28th February 2011. Some local parking is available but may be limited, especially on weekends.

There is no charge for this activity.

For more information, visit http://www.geocaching.com

The National Trust’s month long Outdoor Gym Challenge, starting today includes an assortment of activities designed to be undertaken on any public, accessible outside green space anywhere in the UK, including National Trust properties.

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