News & Insights 19 November 2021

Winter doesn’t need to stop you being active!

As winter approaches, many of us dread the short days and icy temperatures, and as a result, don’t leave the house anywhere near as often as we would during other seasons. A study of 2,000 adults found that more than half go outside less in winter than at any other time of year – blaming the cold, wet weather, less daylight, and a lack of motivation. This means many of us will see a drop in activity levels over the winter seasons; two thirds of adults struggle to do any structured physical activity during the winter months at all.

At KiActiv® we have found that weather is a significant barrier when it comes to someone’s activity levels, especially for those who have long term conditions. The cold can agitate lung conditions such as COPD, emphysema and Long Covid, and can also increase muscle ache and joint pain for those with arthritis or musculoskeletal problems. This cycle of reduced physical activity can, in turn, lead to worsening of symptoms, therefore it is crucial to find way to stay active even in the winter.

However, what many people don’t realise is that you do not have to be outside to be active. There are many ways to keep your activity levels up in and around the house simply by moving more in your day-to-day life. Those who wouldn’t choose structured exercise could keep active by incorporating more movement into daily chores, such as taking items up the stairs one by one or walking around whilst on the phone. For those who want to get out the house but can’t stand the cold, activities such as visiting indoor shopping centres are a great opportunity to get a walk in without experiencing the negative effects of the weather. For those who enjoy higher intensity activities, home workouts or visiting the gym can be great substitutes for outdoor exercise during the colder months. Recruiting a friend or family member to do these activities with, either in person or over video, can help you stay motivated, and more importantly, make it more enjoyable.

Reduced daylight hours can have a significant impact on mental health, making motivating yourself harder than at other times of year. Although it may seem difficult at first, a little bit of movement can make a big difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. Building a short time into your routine to do some activity either around the house or elsewhere is enough to get those endorphins flowing. Making the most of daylight hours is also important; shifting your sleeping pattern, where possible, to wake up earlier can make the days seem longer and reduce the negative impact on your mood.

Clients on KiActiv® Health have proven that, despite the weather, there are still many ways to be active. Many have found innovative ways to move more around the house, like putting piles of washing at the bottom of the stairs so that they have to make more trips or making a conscious effort to get up and walk around between meetings. Put very well by one client “It’s not about becoming a fitness freak and being obsessed. It is those subtle changes that you can make which make the difference” (Male 65-years, Type 2 Diabetes), so, no matter the weather this winter, it doesn’t need to stop you being active!

The KiActiv® Team