Lifestyle: Yorkshire's hidden treasure trail that will motivate you to get fit

As a psychologist, people often ask me how to form a new exercise routine and make it stick. I believe you get far better results from making new habits easy, effective and fun. There is also an extra bonus if it is for a good cause, as it releases feel good endorphins and dopamine, plus you are accountable to others.

I'm a big believer in exercise, not just for the fitness benefits it provides but also for how it has the power to clear the mind and boost your mood. Not to mention the many long term benefits in preventing and improving the outcomes of serious illnesses. However, since becoming a parent and life being so busy, it has become harder to keep up with my old exercise routine. 

For me, that has meant finding a form of exercise that I can incorporate into my life easily, that delivers results and that I find enjoyable. Walking ticks all of these boxes and with the beautiful Yorkshire countryside on my doorstep, I'm never short of gorgeous scenery to accompany me. But this gorgeous and largely undiscovered route gave me just the kick I needed to get back to my love of walking.

I don't know about you but one of the biggest barriers for finding time to exercise is the ability to let myself off the hook and so having other people to be accountable to kicks me into gear. 

When Yorkshire Cancer Research got in touch to say they were launching a new campaign called Step Out For Yorkshire in the month of May, based around finding the 'Hidden Treasures' of Yorkshire to raise money for the vital research needed to prevent, treat and cure cancer, I was on board straight away. Everyone has been touched by this awful disease in one way or another, and its even more important than ever that we keep raising money to tackle it.

As well as contributing to a worthy cause, walking is great for these 5 reasons:

1) Getting outdoors is good for you as you absorb vitamin D from the sun even on a cloudy day

2) Nature and observing the world around you, especially in the countryside, encourages you to be more present

3) Walking gives you the chance to think, clear your mind and boosts your mood

4) It is easy so you can do it around your commitments, you don't need special equipment,  you can walk anywhere and it's also something you can do with your children or dog.

5) you can also indulge in nature photography and capture the sights as an added bonus

The Step out for Yorkshire campaign is based on finding five Hidden Treasures which celebrate some of the most beautiful places in Yorkshire and you can walk, run or cycle them. 

I signed up for the Beverley Westwood Hidden Treasures route starting at the impressive Beverley Minster, which is enormous and full of history. 

You can go inside for a look before you begin your walk or just walk the perimeter of the grounds, which was really interesting and full of ornamental treasures. 

The route then heads through the town, past the iconic black mill and up into ancient woodland which is covered in a carpet of stunning bluebells for the next few weeks. The perfect time to really explore this hidden gem.

Not only that but the route takes you back to the historic White Horse pub where you can refuel with a refreshing drink.

Seeing an abundance of rare bluebells was just the mood boost I needed. Did you know that over half of the worlds bluebells are in England and that they are a protected species? Which makes it even more special to catch them during the month of May.

The walk is 6.74km in total and is flat, so a fairly easy walk, so much so I completed it with my little ones in tow. They certainly helped me get my speed up so I felt like I had a good workout! It can be done with a good off road buggy or carrier if they get tired.

There was a gorgeous carpet of bluebells as far as the eye could see in Burton Bushes which is the ancient woodland at the far end of Beverley Westwood and we even saw the cheeky resident cows, which roam freely on the pasture land.

I'm hoping to complete 100 miles during May, by Wandering the Wolds and would love your support by making a donation here. If you also fancy giving one of the hidden treasures a go, you can sign up too. There really is no better way to introduce a new exercise habit than by supporting such a good cause and people following your journey.

I'd love to hear about what exercise you're taking part in this May so please drop me a comment below. The Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay route also looks stunning! 

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