Fitness

Charlotte Hawkins: Seasonal Switch Up

When the darker nights draw in, it can be harder to stay motivated to maintain your fitness routine – our wellness columnist tells us how she’s adapting her workout for autumn

So we’re officially into autumn now, which inevitably seems to make exercising feel like much harder work. You wake up and it’s dark, go to work and sit indoors all day, come back home, and it’s dark again. The evenings are drawing in, and with the clocks going back at the end of the month, it’s soon set to get even gloomier. I find gearing myself up to go out in the cold and dark to exercise seems much more of an effort, never mind if it’s raining as well. So I’ve decided that this is the month to kick-start my winter wellness drive, and I’ll be looking at ways to increase my energy levels and boost how I feel over the next few months.

It’s this time of year when it’s vital to keep up with the exercise to give you more energy, and I’m certain it helps boost your immune system too, as when I’m keeping active and keeping the blood pumping I always seem to be able to ward off illnesses. I’m not a fan of running outside anyway, so I’ll be sticking to the treadmill, and mixing up my gym sessions with some training at home. I’m going to get outside when I can, as I find the lack of sunshine and lower vitamin D levels impacts my mood. That means keeping up with my step count by wrapping up warm and getting out for some brisk walks and power gardening.

Here are my top tips for exercising now the nights are getting darker:

1. Look at your training routine and adapt it to the winter months. Make the most of the daylight by laying out your training clothes the night before for an early run, and then you’ve committed to it, so you’re less likely to back out. Studies have shown the best way to burn fat is exercising in the cold – if you can bear it!

2. Think about switching to indoor exercising if you’re finding it hard; try swimming, yoga, netball or a fitness class. You can even train at home, but make sure you set aside time slots, otherwise you won’t follow through. Even if you haven’t got much space you can use a few pieces of equipment; start with weights, an exercise ball, and resistance bands.

3. Use technology – now is a good time to find those apps and videos that can motivate you and help set goals to keep you going.

4. Making it social is a good motivator – it’s been proven that people are more likely to stick to exercising if they’ve scheduled it in with others.

5. Beat the seasonal blues and boost your mood by eating well and getting enough vitamin D. It’s still important to get outdoors in the daytime despite the weather, so pop out when you can, even if it’s a quick walk during your lunch break.

Health & Wellbeing