In the second of a five-part series on wellbeing and wellness with a rural focus, we look at being active.

We all know in theory how much better we could feel after a good dose of exercise or time spent outdoors. Research is plentiful, but prioritising it can be a challenge.

Look for little ways you can get more activity into your day.

It may be hard to break the cycle of coming home from a hard day's graft just to catch your breath on the couch, or to sleep in as long as you can on a Sunday — but a simple 20-minute walk can have huge benefits to mood, energy and self-belief.

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Adding exercise into your routine for as little as three times a week is shown to have a positive impact. The key is to do what you enjoy.

Here are a few tips.

• Get up slightly earlier and walk up the road to catch the sunrise.
• Turn on the lawnmower at dusk and do a few laps around the lawn in the fresh air.
• Offer to coach a local sports team or youth group to get out and about.
• Buy a bike — it doesn't need to be an expensive one — and start riding.
• Join a walking group if you don't like doing it alone.
• Download a yoga app and do some stretches to start off or break up your day.
• Try a new sport and get exercise while meeting new people.
• Plan a holiday based on a few walking tracks in that area.
• Walk to the top of the hill instead of taking the truck and take time to absorb that special view.
• Head out fishing, using the time on foot to get in walking time.
• Drop your car off at the children's bus stop. Walk home, then back in the afternoon.
• If in town, go to the pool for a few laps before heading home.
• Walk any bush on your farm putting out pest traps.

- Mischa Clouston is contracted to DairyNZ's wellness and wellbeing team, a sheep, beef and deer farmer's wife, and rural practice nurse in North Otago.