With the nation in the midst of a third lockdown getting out for our daily exercise has become more important than ever.

Whether it's a new priority to get out and move your body, be it because of working from home and being sat down all day or escaping the house for a moment alone, away from home schooling - exercise has become our solace. 

The benefits of being active far exceed just the physical changes your body may see. 

The emotional benefits of getting outside in the fresh air and enjoying some gentle exercise can make a huge difference to our mental health, especially for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter months. 

SAD is a form of depression that comes and goes with the season. As the sun sets and stays down, so does a person's mood.

However exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. In addition, exercise increases your metabolism, which helps to improve your energy levels.

Due to the national lockdown gyms are closed and we are only permitted to leave the house for essential shopping or once daily for exercise. 

You can exercise in a public outdoor space: 

- by yourself

- with the people you live with

- with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)

- in a childcare bubble where providing childcare

- or, when on your own, with one person from another household

You don't need to start running marathons or doing circuits, but a gentle 30-minute walk is enough to see positive changes in both your mind and body whilst adhering to lockdown rules.

Here are some 30-minute walks to enjoy in Oxford: 

City trail:

Oxford Mail:

Christ Church College - Unsplash

With a distance of 1.5 miles this walking trail, starting at Carfax the historic centre of the city, is an ideal route for people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs. 

This level route takes in some of the most iconic sites of Oxford and is a great chance for us to explore our own city without the hordes of tourists. 

Taking you around the colleges including Christ Church College and Corpus Christi, the route reminds us of the history of the city through architecture. 

Mapped out by Oxford Walks you can download the full guided tour on their website in advance. 

Virtual Science Walk: 

At 1.5 miles this city-centre science walk will take you around 30 minutes at an average walking speed. 

The Oxford Science Walk takes you to some of the most important and interesting historic scientific sites in the city, from the time of the founding of the University in the 13th century and the work of Friar Bacon to advancements in modern science such as the development of penicillin.

The importance of science in Oxford is traced through the monumental work of people such as Robert Boyle (created Boyle's Law), Edmond Halley (discovered Halley's comet), Stephen Hawking and Dorothy Hodgkin (discovered the structure of vitamin B12). 

Ideal for people of all ages this walk will be sure to capture the imagination of little ones and science history fans - the full trail and information about each site is available to download. 

Old Headington:

Oxford Mail:

St Andrews Road, Old Headington - Google Maps

Take a ramble around Headington with this family walk around the Old Town discovering the history and nature of the area. 

This walking guide is available to download in advance and has plenty of elements to keep the family entertained including guessing games and stories from notable buildings.

One of the historic buildings in Old Headington includes Ethelred Court which is said to be the probable site of the royal residence where Kind Ethelred stayed, 

King Ethelred was only 10 years old when he became king following the murder of his older brother.

Abingdon foot path: 

If you're close to Abingdon then take a stroll through the gorgeous red-roofed houses and alongside the river and meadows.

Amble through the market town or along the Thames for half an hour at your own pace and follow your own route or follow a three-mile trail from Abbey Meadows to Sutton Courtenay's Anglican Church.

Best enjoyed on a dry day this walk takes you over Abingdon Weir and Lock, through Hales Meadow passing Abingdon Bridge and Marina. 

Follow the river bank as it sweeps east to continue along Culham Cut. Cross a wooden bridge to take the path between the cut and the Thames, then a second footbridge over the weir.

A third bridge leads to Church Street in Sutton Courtenay and through to All Saints' Church where Prime Minister H.H Asquith and George Orwell.

River walk to Iffley:

Oxford Mail:

Iffley Lock Eastern Bypass.

It's common knowledge that there's nothing quite like being near water to calm and relax you - water has been proven to induce a positive mood and reduce stress, ideal for lockdown number three. 

This gentle walk starting at the Head of the River pub along the River Thames to Iffley takes around half an hour.

The walk will take you past the college boat houses and Christ Church Meadow. 

A great amble especially at the weekend you can take this walk at your own pace and walk as far or as little as you fancy.

There are no lights along the south side of the river so make sure there are plenty of daylight hours when you set off on your walk. 

Let us know how exercise has benefitted you in the comments.