A DEDICATED fitness instructor from Limavady is currently on a mission encouraging children and parents to embrace the outdoors and recognise the value of nature through a series of family hikes.
On Wednesday October 30, excited kids and parents gathered at Duncrun Fishing Lakes near Limavady to set off on a fun-filled adventure.
Organised by Heather Nicholl of Pulse Fitness, she believes that holding regular hikes in the local community has already made a positive impact on those who participate.
“The aim of the family hikes is to get children outside because nowadays they are so into their iPads and technology,” explained Heather.
“Not only is hiking great for physical health, it's also great for mental health too – I just want to get more people into outdoor activities and to realise there's so much out there!”
Heather went on to describe the recent hike saying:“I set off with a group and hiked deep into Ballycarton Forest.
“Through mucky trails, much to the kids delight, we hiked our way upwards stopping to gather different styles and colours of fallen leaves and to let the kids have fun wandering around.
“Finally reaching the main forest path, the views of Magilligan and beyond were spectacular.
“We made our way towards Binevenagh Nature Reserve where the forest paths displayed a blanket of autumn beauty with the fallen leaves.
“We stopped to admire Binevenagh Mountain and the kids were amazed at how close they were to it!”
“Our journey back consisted of downhill (much to the parents delight) - the kids ran, laughed and had lots of fun exploring.
“The hike was a playground of hidden trails surrounded by natural beauty in the heart of a forest and its right on our doorsteps.”
According to fitness expert Heather, as well as family-based walking trails, she holds a variety of hikes for anyone who feels up to the challenge.
Heather continued: “I recently held a 'spooky night hike' for Halloween which was for those who have a level of fitness, who maybe walk regularly or go to the gym – there was a bit of climbing but we stayed together as a group and supported each other.
“I also hold beginners hikes for mental health every Wednesday.
“It's a two hour hike which anyone can take part in.
“I have had ladies who suffer from anxiety join the hikes and they say it's the best thing to happen to them.
“The aim is just to bring people outdoors and encourage them to step outside their comfort zone.”
According to Limavady woman Heather, who has been hiking for over five years, she is passionate about highlighting the facilities and beautiful surroundings we have in our local community while transforming people's outlook on fitness and keeping healthy.
She continued: “I love hiking and I have always been into outdoor activities such as adventure racing.
“I have built up a community so I just want to keep adding to that.
“I'm trying to get people to recognise the outdoors and realise that the Roe Valley has so much to offer and so many hidden gems.”
Keep up with Heather on Facebook and Instagram at Pulse Fitness Adventures Limavady.