I'm writing this in February. It's cold, miserable, dark and wet. If I look outside I'm not immediately gripped by the concept of going out for some exercise.
But look what I've done. I've gone straight for the negatives again. Straight for the hurdles. Straight for the reasons why I'm going to choose not to get out and exercise today. And that, my friends, is against the rules.
We know that motivation to exercise is tough. That's why TeamUp was created. We know we want to be active and enjoying the benefits that comes with it, and we also know we need to re-frame so that we can be more positive about exercise.
I'm writing this in February and I can't wait to go get onto a local trail! I'm going to wrap up, enjoy a bracing walk, enjoy the beautiful winter picture in front of me then get home and stick the kettle on, knowing I'm ready for the day!
Ok - still haven't twisted your arm?
We have a higher tendency towards depression in the winter. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is also known as "winter depression" with good reason. Exercise helps combat feeling low so get out and find that sunlight!
It's cold. The body will have to work harder to keep your core temperature up. This will burn more calories. Burn more again by adding a bit of weight (go get the rucksack...)
The heart works harder when we exercise in the cold, which helps us to improve our cardiovascular system. Remember to make sure you manage intensity, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
Reduce stress! Being outdoors can be a wonderful stress-buster. Fresh air (more oxygenated), sunlight, beautiful surroundings (go wild if you can), get away from everything and everyone and breathe!
I really want to highlight the well-established link between darker, colder winter months, and the strains this can place on our mental health. We should all be striving to look after both our physical and our mental health. In the winter lots of people take a hit on both.
Exercise has obvious benefits for our physical health but the benefits on our mental health are huge, and under-appreciated. When you get in from that walk (that you're about to do) it's really important that you take a moment to consciously note how you feel.
Yes, it's cold. Yes, you're going to need to wrap up. But no one ever came in from a winter's walk feeling worse than when they left.
Deviating from the 'outdoor vibe' for a moment, if you really can't face getting out in the cold, or if there are other reasons why outdoor exercise really isn't a good move for you, consider indoor options.
There are just so many options for exercise now. Most people need other people around them (we're social beings). Group classes are perfect for this. Look up your local options and get involved.
If you really can't face leaving the house (and I really really encourage you to get out if you can) then there's always the vast array of online workouts you can get stuck into. I normally find this a last resort but it's better than not being active at all today!
The headline message here: Get up, wrap up and get out. You've got this!
Oh, and make the walk a fast one and you can log some points on TeamUp!