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…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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hiking mam tor

An active weekend hiking in the Peak District

Today is just a fun post to share some photos from my hike this weekend. For me, hiking is one of the best ways to stay active. It is the perfect way to move your body whilst also relaxing at the same time. You get out in the fresh air, get away from screens and social media and have chance to connect with nature. It is challenging but you don’t feel like you are over stressing your body (as long as you keep yourself well fueled that is). I just love it!

I am back in the UK this month visiting my family and friends after a whole year in Athens. One of the things I missed the most was the British countryside so I am making the effort to go out hiking and enjoy nature while I am here. Of course Greece has plenty of opportunities for hiking too and this winter I plan to make the most of it! But it is a much more rough and mountainous country compared to the UK. The scenery is completely different and there is much less of that rolling green hillside that we have here in Britain.

This weekend I went to the Peak District to enjoy the good(ish) weather and spend time outdoors. I don’t have a car since I left the UK so I needed to go somewhere with good public transport links. Plus, I was meeting a friend from Nottingham so the Peak District is the perfect middle ground. I took the train from St Helens to Edale via Manchester which took about 2 hours. I love travelling by train because it’s the perfect opportunity to just switch off and relax. I usually have a good book or podcast at the ready but this time I just enjoyed watching out of the window.

The Hope Valley trans-pennine line from Manchester to Sheffield is one of the prettiest railway routes in the UK. Not only does it join two of my favourite cities in the UK, but it also passes through all of these little villages and beautiful scenery in between. I didn’t take any photos from the train as I was completely absorbed but here is a map of the route.

hiking peak district hope valley line
By Rcsprinter123 – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

I arrived at Edale train station and waited in the Penny Pot Cafe which is a favourite spot for hikers and visitors to the village. The walking route we chose started and ended from the cafe so it was the perfect meeting spot and just 1 minute walk from the station. We didn’t come prepared with OS maps and navigating equipment but there are plenty of easy to follow routes in this area. I actually took the free hikers guide from the cafe and we followed route 2 which is about 5 miles at a moderate level.

We started by heading out of Edale and climbed up towards Mam Tor. It is a slow and steady climb but you end up quite high pretty quickly! Instead of climbing right up to the tor and walking along the ridge, we took a circular route instead. We walked down the lime stone way and into the village of Castleton. On the way we were supposed to see two caverns but we took an accidental detour and ended up missing them completely!

After a treacherous half walk half slide down a steep bank, we made it into Castleton. This is another picturesque village founded in 1086! It is known for it’s history, especially Peveril Castle, and is a designated conservation area. I really like the cute cottage style houses and winding streets selling souvenirs and crystals. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink as it is a central point for hikers in the area.

We stopped for some food in a traditional pub called The Castle. They do really tasty roast dinners but I thought it wasn’t the best idea in the middle of a hike as I’d be ready to fall asleep afterwards. So instead I enjoyed a “fish finger butty” which for anyone not from the north UK is a sandwich with battered fish inside. Basically a fish and chips sandwich! I always have a big appetite when I am hiking, a combination of the fresh air and hard work I think.

It was getting late by the time we finished our food and we still had an hour to go till the end of the walk. We thought the hardest climb was over but we were very wrong. The climb back up to Mam Tor from Castleton is pretty steep. Even though there is a good path which angles up the side of the ridge it can be quite challenging if you’re not used to hiking. The view makes it all worthwhile though. You have spectacular views of the countryside and the village below. I was even happy to see Hope cement works which is a bit of an eye sore in the natural landscape.

The end of the route was downhill and then flat along a paved path so it was an easy end to the day. We passed farms and saw lots of sheep grazing in the field, I wanted a selfie but unfortunately they had other ideas. I ended up missing my train by 5 minutes and had to wait nearly an hour for the next one. Luckily the cafe was still open so I enjoyed a hot lemon and ginger tea and chatted to the workers who were super friendly! I love how relaxed and happy people always seem to be in the countryside. It just shows what the stressed out city lifestyle does to us.

I am so glad to be able to move my body in fun ways rather than feeling like I have to kill myself at the gym to look a certain way. Even hiking is more enjoyable for me now as I make sure to eat plenty of snacks on the way and fuel my body. Years ago, I would see hiking as as a way to burn calories and I would try to eat as little as possible which always left me feeling moody and exhausted. Now I feel fit and strong and I hike because I love it, not as a way to lose weight. Hopefully I will have chance to visit the Peak District again while I am here or maybe the Lake District for more hiking adventures!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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