DAILY exercise is more important than ever as we all learn to cope with life in lockdown number three.

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 wonderful walks to enjoy in and around Newport no matter your ability:

Usk Valley Walk:

South Wales Argus:

The Usk Valley Walk follows the river valley for 50 miles (80 kms) between the Ship Inn in Caerleon and Brecon, however you do not have to do this full route and instead can follow much shorter trails.

This walk is famous with ramblers across the country who challenge themselves to walk long distances. 

But take a part of this trail you want to explore and set your own pace, we recommend a daily walk of 1.5km which takes approximately half an hour.

Starting the trail at the Ship Inn at Caerleon you can walk north-eastwards following the River Usk enjoying unspoilt views across the valley.

The route is way-marked with yellow arrows and is maintained by Newport City Council, Monmouthshire County Council and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

Morgans and Woodstock Pools:

Morgans and Woodstock Pools are also commonly known as Morgans and Woodstock Ponds or the Bob Small Fishery is a peaceful walk that allows you to spot an abundance of wildlife. 

Depending on your pace the flat walk can take around 30 to 45 minutes and is great for ramblers and families. 

You can start at the main entrance to St Woolos Cemetery on Bassaleg Road - there is free parking available but you are encouraged to walk or cycle here if you can. 

The walking route can be found on the council website. 

Caerleon Circular: 

South Wales Argus:

Another walk to enjoy in Caerleon is this circular route that visits some of the regions most historical site - ideal for all ages. 

On the 2.2km walk you will visit the Roman Fortress, Chepstow Hill and Wentwood Forest.

The walk starts in the town at the notable Roman legionary fortress. You then follow paths to the river, passing the Roman Amphitheatre on the way.

At the river you pick up the Usk Valley Walk and follow the waymarked trail along the river before picking up the old Roman Road to take you up to Chepstow Hill.

You continue along the Roman Road to Cat's Ash before entering the woodland area at Kemeys Graig.

Follow the trails north east and they will take you into Wentwood Forest where you come to the hill which marks the high point of the forest.

The trail then returns to Caerleon on the same paths.

Newport City to Sea Walk:

The Newport City to Sea Walk opened in May 2012 as part of the Wales Coast Path.

The 8km walk includes slopes, stiles, steps and uneven ground so isn't the best route for people who aren't sure-footed.

For a 30-minute walk of 1.5km start at Newport Castle and walk down the river to City Bridge. 

Parking is available along Stephenson Street or at the Newport Wetlands car park.

Download and print off the map before you start or follow the path signs around the perimeter of the city. 

Shaftesbury Park:

South Wales Argus:

Shaftesbury Park - Wikimedia Commons - John Grayson 

This short, simple and level walk along the banks of the River Usk and around the Shaftesbury Park boundary is ideal for families with pushchairs and people in wheelchairs. 

Follow the tarmac path around the boundary for this 1km walk - if you want to make the walk a little longer then you can follow the optional river path up to the 12th century castle near the city centre. 

Download the walking map before you set off.

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