Reasons to get outside

Outdoor activity

When it comes to getting active and improving our fitness, we can always find a hundred and one reasons not to get outside and go for a walk, run or cycle on the cold, winter days. It is easy to think of the many reasons not to be active today but to start tomorrow:

  • Its cold outside
  • The weather will improve tomorrow
  • I'm tired
  • I don't have enough time
  • I don't enjoy exercise

These are some of the most common excuses for putting off starting your activity journey. Instead of thinking of the negative reasons around outdoor activity or being active in general, why not think of the positives. Yes getting started and taking the leap outside can be challenging, but think of how you will feel when you have finished. The endorphins- happy hormones- running through your body, the dose of fresh air brightening up your day and in fact increasing your energy levels. You may also find that night you sleep better having been active and getting out in the fresh air. We have put together some tips for getting outside and being active in the chilly weather...

  1. Motivation

Dig deep and find your reasons to get active. There may be times when you are out and the weather turns dull and rainy, and although you may be asking yourself 'why am i doing this to myself', finding motivation to keep going is essential to success.

  • Have a goal in mind- This may be to lose weight, tone up, get fitter in time for an event.
  • Visualise the end point- Arrange to meet a friend or your running buddy at a local coffee shop for a deliciously hot cup of tea or coffee.
  • Join a running club or find a friend to go out with- you won't want to let them down. Having a commitment will keep you accountable and reduce the temptation to skip that session.

2. Gear up

Heading out for a frosty run in a pair of shorts and vest is never going to end well. In order to make running or cycling a regular occurrence, you need to be prepared for whatever nature throws at you.If the temperature has dropped, put on a thermal top and leggings/tights. Wear a hat and gloves along with a high vis vest.Being too hot half way through your run is better than feeling like your hands will fall off with the cold. Remember, you can always take off a layer if you get too hot and wrap it round your waist.

3. Start properly

You should never open the door, step outside and immediately start running at full pace.Warming up is essential to preventing injuries, maximising performance and easing your body into the workout.Before you begin, spend 5-10 minutes stretching and loosing out your muscles. Spend a further 5 minutes doing some light jogging on the spot and jumping jacks.Once you feel warm and ready to go, then head out and enjoy yourself.

4. Pace yourself

Don't go out all guns blazing trying to go as fast as you can. You will tire yourself out within 5 minutes and feel de-motivated that you haven't gone as far or long as you wanted to.Particularly when the weather is cold, it's a good idea to start off slower and ease your way in. Allow your muscles to continue warming up and gradually speed up. You will be able to keep the momentum going throughout the entire run and will feel less tired and de-motivated afterwards.

5. Keep warm after

Well done, you've completed your run. I bet you are feeling the endorphins running through you- you may be able to relate to the commonly named 'runners high'.You've battled the forces of nature, the wind whistling through your ears and you've finished. The sweat is dripping off you, you are roasting hot and are ready to change out of your clothes.Changing into dry, warm clothes is the most important post-run preparation. Have a warm jacket, jumper, trousers and socks to put on before you head for your well deserved cup of coffee.

6. Enjoy yourself!

For many, the concept of enjoying a 5K run doesn't appeal. However, once you are out in the fresh air, take in the scenery, enjoy the time where nothing matters. Clear your mind of the stresses and thoughts that have taken over. Enjoy some 'you' time. You deserve it.