By WALX Derwent and Dales at
So, with the turning back of the clocks, it’s now officially Winter! As we embrace the colder weather and darker nights, we thought it would be good to have a recap of our blogs over recent months and give you 7 top tips on how to keep motivated to exercise over the Autumn and Winter months:
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But wearing the right clothes makes such a difference to feeling good about being outdoors in any weather – even cold drizzly days! The secret to outdoor exercise is layering your clothes and investing in a really good set of waterproofs – including flexible boots for when it gets muddy. Waterproof gloves, along with a headband or hat, are also essential during the colder months. Most importantly, we need to think about our safety on the darker days, so wearing a head torch and high visibility garments are a must for being seen and being safe.
Footpaths, fields and trails can be a little more challenging in the winter months! Whilst we will always risk assess a route to ensure your safety, we cannot always get away from mud, leaves and frozen ground. We understand that for many people the fear of falling during the winter months is a real factor in not getting out there and doing enough exercise. Walking with poles can make you feel much more confident. If you are a non-pole walker and would like to try them out, just let us know! We provide the poles for our technique course and then help you find the ones you would like to purchase yourself.
It is well known that many people suffer more with their mental health throughout the winter months. Getting out there and exercising, meeting up with familiar people in the class and having a bit of a giggle along the way can really help overcome the challenges of seasonal depressions, such as SADS. Exercising outdoors, embracing the elements and immersing oneself in nature throughout all seasons keeps us connected to the earth. Likewise, physical fitness is not just for half the year; it should be maintained all year round in order to keep our bodies “future-proof” healthy.
Earlier this year, we wrote about the tripod of health, comprised of good sleep, enough exercise and a balanced diet. We also wrote an article on the importance of sleep. As we get older, good quality sleep can often be lost, often due to not getting enough exercise during the day, particularly in winter. I would like recap again to some sleep hygiene tips that promote quality sleep and are a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your sleep:
-Eat well and eat earlier in the day; don’t eat heavy meals late in the evening so your body has time to digest your food before going to bed.
-Avoid caffeine and alcohol; if you enjoy a caffeine hit try to limit these and restrict them to mornings only, as caffeine acts as a stimulant. Furthermore, even a small amount of alcohol can prevent ‘recovery’ sleep, so try to limit this as well!
-Move that body; schedule regular exercise to improve your sleep. While any movement during the daytime is good, it’s even better to get regular, moderate exercise a few days a week.
-Exercising outdoors; this is so good for our health. It engages our senses, grounds us in nature, which is beneficial for our mental health, and also facilitates exposure to natural light during the day, which can help keep your body in sync with its natural sleep rhythms.
-Routine; try to go to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time.
-Room temperature; ensure the room you are sleeping in is at a comfortable temperature.
A really simple one to help you stay on track with your daily exercise routine! A great one we used in Lockdown was the Active 10 App
Remember our blog on goal setting and how this really changes a wish into reality? Create your fitness goals and just remember how you will feel when you complete your workout, having done all those miles and all those steps!
Here is a really important tip to close on. Take the time to enjoy your exercise and investment in your health and wellbeing.