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Top health and wellness activities for 2021

January 4, 2021

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Between the Trees

Bridgend County and Wales are currently at Alert Level 4 , with strict measures in place to limit the spread of the virus. All non-essential businesses, including hospitality, have to close, and non-essential travel is not allowed. Please stay safe and do not visit. Here’s some inspiration for when it is possible to welcome you back to Bridgend County. We look forward to welcoming you as soon as possible in 2021.

Wellness is set to be one of the biggest trends of the year, particularly as people look to combine travel and enjoyment with personal improvement in order to stay mentally and physically fit and healthy post-2020. Luckily you don’t have to travel far and wide in search of a wellness break - here’s our list of inspiration in Bridgend County.

Breathe in some fresh Welsh air along the Wales Coast Path

There no better (and cheaper) way to stay healthy than to simply get walking, and there’s plenty of scope for that in Bridgend County. For example, why not try the Wales Coast Path’s mindful walk through Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Wander through the sand paths between the dunes or follow the Sker beach circular walk for a longer journey, reaching the coast and beach before following the way marks back inland to the Visitor Centre. Keen bird watcher? The lake, populated by a wide variety of waterfowl, is one of the few places in the UK where bittern can be seen in the winter.  

Cold water swimming

It may not be your idea of the perfect pick-me-up activity, but cold water swimming has been proven to boost your immune system, burn calories, reduce stress, improve circulation and give you a natural high! With that in mind, why not take to one of our beautiful beaches for a quick dip in the ocean that’ll wash your cares away.

*PLEASE REMEMBER* It’s very important to follow the RNLI advise to avoid injury while cold water swimming. Full guidance can be found here: https://rnli.org/safety. Or join an organised event later in the year when the water is warmer!

Wellness through water sports

Of course, there’s more to do in the ocean than simply swimming. Bridgend County is now known to be one of the top places in the UK for water sports so why not grab your surfboard or stand up paddle board  and take to the Welsh waves. Equipment and wetsuit hire is available from Porthcawl Surf School at the Rest Bay Watersports Centre. Or with Adventures Wales outdoor activities.

Find inner-peace at Parc Slip Nature Reserve

Studies in ecotherapy show that spending time amongst nature and partaking in outdoor activities decreases stress levels and helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Escape into the blissful wilderness of the 300-acre Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve - there are a variety of habitat types as well as traffic-free cycle routes and over 10km of dog-walking trails.

Work up a sweat outdoors

If you enjoy things at a faster pace, we’ve got some suggestions that are sure to get your heart pumping. Feel the burn by conquering Europe's second-highest sand dune with challenging cross country runs through the Merthyr Mawr dunes. Alternatively, grab your mountain bike and take on the Darren Fawr trails - the thigh-straining climbs are tough, but the free-wheeling descents are well worth the effort!    

Enjoy a little escapism

Nothing lifts the spirits like a good a bit of entertainment. While we still don’t know exactly what 2021 will look like, there’s a chance that nature-lovers will be able to attend the 2021 Ocean Film Festival when it comes to Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion next September. Leave your worries behind and enjoy carefully curated selection of short films combines epic human endeavour and astounding marine life in a spectacular cinematic celebration of our oceans.

Yoga and Qigong in beautiful natural surroundings

We’re all hoping that Between The Trees, one of our most exciting new festivals, will be able to return in 2021. If it does, maybe you’ll be able to return to the ‘pagoda’ health and wellbeing area to enjoy guided yoga and qigong sessions which featured in 2019. If you’re not familiar with it, qigong is a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training.

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