Meet your need for Movement outdoors

by Zoë Tolman | 12 Jul 2022

Written by Zoë Tolman, Trainer of The Mental Health Toolkit

In this article, let’s focus on ways that you can meet your need for Movement outdoors. We use the word ‘Movement’ because sometimes the word ‘exercise’ can be off-putting. There are plenty of ways we can get ourselves moving that don’t involve lycra or repetitive arm movements!

One of my favourite ways to meet my need for Movement is through outdoor adventures and activities. Since moving to Suffolk three years ago, I have discovered a wide range of outdoor adventures and activities on offer. Everything from roller skating to wild swimming, Suffolk has loads to choose from and caters for all abilities and ages.

Meeting our other needs through Movement outdoors

By meeting our need for Movement outdoors, we can also meet some of our other needs, including:


There are numerous activity and adventure groups who organise regular meet-ups, many of which are free. Joining one of these groups is a great way to meet and connect with like-minded people.


Trying something new for the first time and practising something that we find challenging pushes us out of our comfort zone. This can help us to grow in confidence, feel more competent and increase our self-esteem.


There are many things which are out of our control in life. Focusing on the things we can influence, such as choosing activities that we enjoy, can help us to feel calmer and more in control.


Getting out for a walk or a bike ride on our own can help us to meet our need for Privacy. By taking some time and space away from everyone and everything, we have the opportunity to reflect and process what’s currently going on for us. Building in some time for Privacy during the day can also help us sleep better at night.


When we are active during the day it helps us to burn off cortisol, the stress hormone, which can help us to Sleep better at night. Another way to reduce our cortisol levels is to meet more of our physical and emotional needs during the day, which helps us to feel less stressed.

How can I meet my need for Movement outdoors?

So, we know that there are many benefits to getting active outdoors. What sort of adventures and activities are on offer in Suffolk? Here are some that we have discovered:

Wild swimming

Whether you prefer the river or the sea, there are numerous wild swimming groups around Suffolk who organise regular meet-ups at all times of the day and evening. Sunrise and sunset swims are very popular, and sometimes night-time swims are organised when there is a full moon.

Joining a group of experienced wild swimmers will ensure that you are aware of safety advice. This includes avoiding wild swimming alone, checking tide times before you go and being aware of hidden dangers like quicksand and undercurrents. The Bluetits is a national wild swimming network listing local groups across the UK. You can find your local wild swimming group via their website here.


If you already own a kayak or a paddleboard, or if you are able to borrow one, there are lots of ways to link up with other paddlers in Suffolk who organise regular meet-ups out on the water at all times of the day and night. Check out East of England Paddlesports for more details.

Roller skating

There are numerous skate parks and skate-friendly places to go in Suffolk, including the promenade at Felixstowe, the waterfront in Ipswich and the riverside path in Woodbridge. Roller skating is a great physical work out and, most importantly, it’s good fun!

If you would like to learn from a professional, Skate Ipswich offers low-cost skating lessons and social skating sessions for adults and families in Ipswich and Felixstowe. A skating lesson/session costs £4 and skate hire is included in the price. You can find out more about their skating lessons here.

Mountain biking

When it comes to cycling routes, we are spoilt for choice in Suffolk. There are plenty of nature reserves, forest, coastal and riverside trails – including Rendlesham Forest, RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Dunwich, Thetford Forest and Alton Water. A search on this site brings up 1,930 different cycle routes in Suffolk to choose from! You can also join two of the National Cycle Network routes which pass through Suffolk. More details on these can be found on Sustrans’ website here.

Outdoor adventure groups

There are an increasing number of outdoor adventure groups starting up which are free to join and offer a range of activities and adventures for their members. This includes walks, hikes, runs, wild swims, paddle boarding and more. Many events are free or low cost and they are a great way to meet other local people. Check out The Outdoorsy Type, Wild Wanderers East England and This Girl Can Suffolk for more details on upcoming events.


If you’re green-fingered, or want to find out what it’s like to work on an allotment, then why not self-refer to join one of our GreenCare allotment groups in Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich? Find out more here.

Learn more about our Emotional Needs & Resources here.


by Zoë Tolman
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