We’re sorry to inform you that the dark nights, rain and cold are here to stay for a few months more. So whilst many of us will find it tempting to curl up under our duvet and hibernate for the season, it’s more important than ever that we stay active during the winter months.
Shaking off the winter blues or a case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can be solved by regular exercise which releases endorphins and keeps our blood pumping!
1) Get walking in your local area
A firm favourite at Cotton Traders HQ and amongst our community, walking is a simple way to get some fresh air into your lungs this winter. However, it doesn’t have to be an icy trek – there are plenty of interesting opportunities in your local area for you to get involved in and even meet new people.
If you’re lacking motivation, the walking charity ‘Walking for Health’ organise local strolls in your area for you to participate in. You can find out about free guided walking groups in your local area here.
Alternatively, if you feel like doing something a bit different, and losing a few extra pounds over the winter period, why not look at the new walking trend, Nordic walking
? Nordic what? We hear you ask! Guided by a trained instructor you’ll learn how to use walking poles to take the pressure off your knees and joints, it’s also a fantastic way to relieve back and neck pain too. (Thanks to Exodus for letting us in on this secret).
2) Join a club
Make sure to have a look at leisure centres hosting classes from your local council – yoga, Pilates, indoor tennis, golf, swimming and water aerobics are all great choices for gentle exercise over the colder months (and they mean you can stay warm too).
3) Run don’t walk!
If you really want to get your blood pumping over the colder months why not run rather than walk? Like any form of exercise, only push yourself as far as you want to, this is about making yourself feel good after all! If you’re new to running start gently before you dive right in to a 10k marathon and make sure you stretch before and after to avoid pulling any muscles. If you’re feeling a bit braver, then volunteers at ‘park run’ organise free 5k runs every Saturday which is a great way to get yourself involved in a little friendly competition this winter! You can find your nearest run here
4) Do the housework
Staying active doesn’t always mean you have to brave the cold. Staying indoors but giving your house a thorough clean can be a great workout, it will keep you warm and burn calories too
Vacuuming – 194 calories/hour
Cleaning windows – 180 calories/hour
Dusting – 174 calories/hour
Cooking – 150 calories/hour
5) Don’t get lazy just because it’s cold outside...
It’s definitely easier to drive to the local shop for the paper in the morning than it is to walk but if you’re looking to stay active this winter why not make a conscious effort to not cut corners. To keep things fun you could keep a scoreboard with your family to see how many times you’ve walked rather than driven or you could buy a stepometer to see how many steps you do each day?
Or how about walking the long way round when you’re in town – we discovered a great site that will calculate how many calories you could burn just walking in your local area called Walkit
which is definitely worth investigating. The options are endless!
6) Eat healthily
‘I eat a balanced diet; a chocolate hobnob in each hand’ – Sherry on Facebook.
Whilst Sherry’s comment made us chuckle, it’s important that you make sure you keep a balanced diet over winter, certain foods such as refined or processed carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and alcohol can make you feel sluggish and less likely to stay active.
There’s no denying that the winter months are all about stocking up on a few winter warmers – just make sure you’re getting your 5 a day too! Slow-burning carbohydrates such as oats will provide your body with sustained energy.
7) Take care of yourself
Keeping active over the coming months is really important but make sure you get plenty of rest too. We spoke with Savista Magazine who provided us with some top tips for when the weather is too rotten to venture outside but also mean we don’t turn into couch potatoes this winter. One tip we hadn’t thought of, which is really simple, is moving your ankles whilst sitting down as this will help prevent DVT.
If you’re heading out and about during the cold weather make sure you wrap up warm, go easy on the walks in icy weather and definitely don’t push yourself if you’re feeling under the weather.
8) Go on an active holiday
For a parting idea from us, why not do something completely different this winter and treat yourself to an outdoor holiday?
We love the look of Inntravel
whose laid back collection of Slow holidays is right up our street for an ‘activity’ holiday this winter. Whether you want to discover the landscape leisurely on foot, by bicycle or on cross-country skis, all their holidays are self-guided allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Here are a couple of trips that caught our eye for an alternative way to stay active this winter:
• Ease into the rhythms of rural life in the peaceful Alpujarras where you can immerse yourself in traditional Spanish village life for a few nights and explore the landscape using the walking notes provided.
• Head to the Norwegian-Russian border and revel in the otherworldly atmosphere of Norway’s furthest reaches. At Sollia, there is a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights from your hosts’ aurora borealis base camp. Why not join them on a dog-sledding or snowmobile excursion too?
A balanced and varied selection of activities will keep your body happy this winter and do wonders for your wellbeing too just make sure you wrap up with our biggest ever fleece collection!