Are you feeling inspired to get active over lockdown but worried about breaking the rules?

Being holed up inside can really take its toll on both your physical and mental health so getting out, even just for a quick walk, has arguably never been more important. 

From elevating your mood to releasing stress-reducing endorphins, the benefits of exercising daily are priceless. 

However it can be difficult to feel motivated to get outside especially at the moment when there are lots of rules to follow. 

But really it's simple. The latest Government rules state: 

- You are allowed to leave the house once daily for exercise alone or with a member of your household or support bubble.

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 of our favourite walks to enjoy in and around Southampton:

Southampton Old Town Walls: 

Daily Echo: Southampton Cenotaph

Southampton Cenotaph.

What better opportunity to explore our city than now, without the tourists? 

The Old Town is absolutely drenched with history at every turn and the Seacity Museum has a guided walk of the Old Town Walls that can be downloaded and printed out in advance. 

The Old Town has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments, with medieval wine vaults, an array of medieval churches, and fine Georgian houses and hotels.

The QE2 Mile: 

Another chance to properly explore our city during this quiet period, the QE2 mile runs from the mighty Cenotaph all the way to the Old Town. 

Passing the waterfront at Town Quay as well as monuments including the Bargate and Titanic memorials this city trail exposes you to the breadth of history around us. 

Suitable for all ages and on tarmac pavements this walk is ideal for people with wheelchairs. 

It is recommended to spend two hours on this walk, to really take in the sights - however, as we've seen most of them before the walk can take as little as thirty minutes. 

The Common:

Daily Echo: Southampton Common, in the centre of the city, by Steve Miller.

Southampton Common by Steve Miller.

Synonymous with the Race for Life and 'Power in the Park', Southampton Common sits between Shirley, Bassett, Highfield and Portswood making it ideal to walk to from home. 

With more than 220 acres to roam there are lots of trails to explore that can be adapted to suit everyone's needs.

Ideal for families and dog walkers alike, there's plenty of space on the common to make sure you feel safe without having to be surrounded by people. 

Home to an abundance of wildlife, it is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and supports one of the largest populations in Britain of the nationally rare great crested newt.

Mayflower Park:

For those of us living in the town centre, the Mayflower Park in the old part of the town is a tranquil space to enjoy a daily walk.

The manicured gardens have stunning views across the tidal reaches of the River Test making it a great spot to take in the positive benefits of open water and coveted 'blue space'.

Great for a short walk with fantastic views, this well-lit area is ideal for a daily stroll over lockdown. 

Parking is available following the postcode SO14 2AQ. 

Riverside Park:

Daily Echo: Misty Riverside Park by Becky Cardy Tilley.

Misty Riverside Park by Becky Cardy Tilley.

Sitting alongside the River Itchen the park is the place to go for a leisurely walk. The river is designated as a SSSI.

Recognised internationally as an important habitat for wildlife such as salmon, water voles, kingfishers, dragonflies and otters. The non-tidal section of the river supports a variety of freshwater fish, including dace, roach and the migratory salmon and sea trout.

Take a look at the National Trust's wildlife spotting tips and tricks to take your walk to the next level, making this a brilliant educational walk for adults and children alike. 

Follow the postcode SO18 2JJ to get to the park. 

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