Tips To Exercise More in the Cold Days of Winter
This time of year the motivation to get outdoors and do exercise can be difficult, especially if it’s freezing or bucketing rain (or both). We recently chatted to Liam Cantwell, Sports Development Officer with Limerick Sports Partnership who gave some great tips on how to overcome this. He also gave great advice to help with exercise from home and also to help if you’re planning New Years Resolutions.
What are some of the key benefits that exercise can have for mental health?
We’d be firm believers in the positive elements of exercise for people’s mental health.
There are a number of reasons for that:
- Scientific – Your body produces endorphins when you exercise so it helps improve your mood.
- The social connectivity – By getting involved with exercise you’ll connect with others who have a similar mindset to you, similar interests. It’s about having that social outlet as well.
- Your body image and your self-confidence – Especially this time of year people tend to eat a bit more. Regular exercise can be beneficial for now but also for the future as it will prevent the onset of problems that may arise from poor physical health. When exercising you also become more cognisant of the foods your putting into your body and hence you’ll focus on having a more balanced diet.
You’re moving more, you’re connecting more and you’re also getting out of the house as well.
Physical health is only one benefit of exercise, your self-confidence will also improve as well when you take up physical activity.
It can be a challenge in winters to get the motivation to exercise. What advice would you have for people to help overcome this?
The biggest thing when it comes to motivation is to find something that you enjoy. That’s half the battle. Don’t just do something that will be a struggle. The winter months are about finding something that you like doing and that will get you off the couch be it a cycle, a run, etc.
Don’t put yourself under pressure in terms of hitting goals/targets this time of year. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment, if for example, the weather is too bad to go out then that can set you back and as a result have a knock-on effect.
Do it regularly for short periods of time. Consistency is everything, especially if you’re stuck in front of a computer monitor. Take small breaks and get up and move.
Obviously when outdoors:
- Wear bright clothing so you can be seen
- Wear layers and make sure the outer layer is waterproof
Having a colleague or training partner can also be a good motivation, obviously while practicing safe social distancing
What tips would you give for people when they take a break from their computers?
There’s a world of indoor exercises you can do. Be it chair exercises, strength exercises, even just walking on the spot.
Content online has exploded in this area and a lot of it is based on exercising at home. We have some videos on our website people can check out.
Being at home really isn’t an excuse to not do physical activity. Just remember to find something that you enjoy doing.
When it comes to exercise and social distancing what advice you give for people when they venture outdoors to exercise but also stay safe
The easiest thing you can do is respect the national guidelines. We can go out and exercise so the key is to be respectful of others. If there’s a narrow footpath move to the side or make way.
We can only look after ourselves so sanitise your hands, wear a mask, and don’t congregate in groups.
When it comes to gyms etc, the guidelines are there but also take personal responsibility as well, clean equipment after use, etc.
Respect the national guidelines and the facilities guidelines
We’re also heading to that time of year where people are planning out New Years Resolutions. What tips would you give for people to ensure they can stick to them?
Start small, you’re not going to go from the couch to a marathon. Set yourself realistic challenges. For example this week I’m going to get outside three times and go for a 10-minute walk.
It’s all about small behavior changes rather than sweeping ones. If you can change one thing there’s a knock-on effect of that. If you achieve it then push on to the next one. If you try and change too much then your resolutions won’t last longer than a week to 10 days. Find a level playing field.
Want to Learn More?
It can be a challenge to get out and door exercise this time of year. Hopefully, some of the tips highlighted by Liam will help. If you want to learn more check out their website today.