Staying active during the colder seasons

This month in the UK has been really lovely. I have been making the most of family time and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. It is getting colder and darker by the day though and honestly, I am looking forward to getting some sunshine when I return to Greece! Today I want to share a few photos from my active weekend and my top tips for staying active during the colder seasons.

During the colder and wetter months in the UK it can be more difficult to stay active. Even with the best intentions, chilly mornings and short days mean a little more motivation is needed. As someone who prefers to exercise outdoors, it is definitely more challenging to stay motivated during the autumn and winter. But I know that movement makes me feel so much better and so I make it a priority to get outside every day.

This weekend I went for a walk at Crosby beach with my family. It was 11°C with 37 mile an hour winds. According to the Met Office that is considered a Near Gale and it says ” Inconvenience felt when walking against the wind”. Hah! We definitely felt some inconvenience walking along the beach with sand whipping our faces and the crashing waves soaking us through..

The photos actually look quite peaceful but trust me it was pretty wild! It was a lot of fun though and my brother’s dog loved running around on the sand. There is something about the sound of the waves and breathing salty sea air that boosts your wellbeing. Unfortunately a lot of plastic had been washed up to shore which is really sad to see. Even one of the buoys had been lifted out of the sea and blown into the dunes the wind was that strong.

We were surprised that we weren’t the only ones out and about. Actually we saw lots of other families walking with their dogs and even a brave cyclist speeding along the slippery coastal path. When you live in a country like the UK, you have to be willing to brave the bad weather otherwise you can end up stuck at home for weeks at a time.

Still, it is not always easy to find the motivation to exercise during the winter, even for us Brits. So I wanted to share a few quick tips for staying motivated to exercise during the colder months:

1. Wear the right clothes

The right clothes are so important when you are exercising in the cold. Proper clothes can turn your outdoor run, walk or cycle from a hellish experience to an exhilarating one. For cold days, layer up with breathable fabrics so that you don’t feel uncomfortable if you break a sweat. Hats, gloves, waterproof coat and boots. Whatever you need to protect yourself from the cold and the rain. As the quote by Alfred Wainwright goes “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”!

2. Get an exercise buddy

It is so much easier to motivate yourself to get outside and exercise if you are with others. Having someone to talk and laugh with makes it so much more fun and makes the time pass quickly. Find an exercise buddy then make a plan and commit to it. This is something my Mum and Auntie do to keep themselves motivated to run during the colder months. It’s much harder to let others down than yourself, so use this to your advantage!

3. Remember your why

I find that reminding myself of my “why” keeps me inspired and motivated to exercise during the autumn and winter. This is a combination of short term and long term benefits of getting outside and moving my body. There has to be a reason to get you off the couch or why would you bother? For some people, knowing that exercise is good for their long term health is enough motivation. However, we are inclined to prefer short term comfort over long term benefits so this doesn’t always work.

In this case, it is important to focus on the short term why’s such as:

  • Helps me to feel more relaxed and at ease
  • Burns off excess physical energy and lessens anxiety
  • Physically I feel less stiff and more energised when I move
  • Sunlight and fresh air clear my mind and boost my mood
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Exploring new places or visiting places I love

4. Keep to an exercise schedule

Sometimes, remembering the why is not enough and you just have to get on with it. This is where sticking to a regular exercise plan throughout the colder months can help. If you habitually exercise at the same time each day or on the same days each week it takes the decision making out of it. Rather than having to decide each day what to do and when to do it, you have already committed in advance which can help you to be more consistent. Combining this with having an exercise buddy helps a lot!

5. Remember your limits

Having said all of that, I am not about pushing yourself to the extreme during the autumn and winter. It is natural to need more sleep and rest during these months, in sync with nature’s rhythms. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel less motivated and energetic when it is cold and dark outside compared to during the summer. Listen to your body and flow with your environment. If it is freezing temperatures or there is a storm outside then definitely look for other ways to move your body indoors and save the outdoor activities for the warmers seasons.

Over to you…

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