• Sunday, November 27, 2022

HEALTH

Here’s why Brits exercise less in winters

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A study has found that among the main reasons Brits exercise less in winter is because of the dark, cold, wet weather, and also due to a lack of motivation.

According to a poll of 2,000 adults, almost 31 per cent said they are less active during the winter months than any other time of the year, the Mirror reports.

The poll also discovered that more than one in three people exercise an average of four times a week during the summertime, and thereby live a healthier lifestyle. Almost 72 per cent of those polled, said that the colder temperatures were reportedly the top reason for a drop in exercising during winter.

Researchers also found that the most popular time of the year to exercise is the spring and autumn months with almost half of the people polled wishing they could maintain the healthy outlook they adopt during the summer months, so as to help them tide over the cold dark winter months.

Andreas Michaelides, Ph.D., chief of psychology at Noom, the psychology-backed behaviour change programme, which commissioned the research is reported to have said, “For many, winter can play havoc with our intentions, causing us to exercise less or change our eating habits.

“Whether it’s the dark, the cold, stress, or tiredness, many external factors can impact our decision-making at this time of year.

“The data indicates that “hibernation mode” kicks in for almost one in five of us, and we often lose our motivation to maintain our routines compared to the summer months, due to barriers like the weather and holidays.

“Recognising how these internal and external factors impact you and your choices is just the first step to making truly informed decisions, enabling you to maintain a motivated mindset all year round.

“It’s also important to plan accordingly when you know you may experience situations that prevent you from achieving your health goals.

“Adapt your routine by going for a walk on a treadmill instead of running outside, or swapping your summer salad for a warming vegetable soup instead.”

The study also reportedly discovered that the most common exercise the Brits engage in throughout the year is walking. This is followed by running, cycling, and bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups and press-ups.

Among those polled, 23 per cent supposedly enjoyed exercising “a lot”.

However, the winter months are also a time for indulgence because of the festivities and Christmas parties and celebrations focussed on food.

So, while it was found that 40 per cent enjoyed more food in the month of December than any other month of the year, 28 per cent of people polled also admitted to eating more chocolate during this time.

Additionally, the study revealed that 22 per cent also order more takeaway food parcels during this time, and 28 per cent eat more biscuits during the cold months.

Michaelides adds, “Thankfully, maintaining healthy habits over winter doesn’t mean banishing your favourite foods, or going on gruelling exercise routines – but rather, incorporating small, healthy habits here and there, that will lead to long-term, sustainable change.”

Some of the top reasons Brits exercise less during the winter months is that they find the weather dark, cold, and wet and this makes it hard to stay motivated.

Additionally, they worry about safety when exercising in the dark. Not having enough energy to exercise is another reason. There is even fear that a muscle may be pulled or strained due to the cold weather. Also, many prefer to hibernate at home, and watch TV.

Moreover, there is less body consciousness in the winter months due to the layers of clothing. Furthermore, since running the heating during winter increases costs, and with Christmas to celebrate and pay for, many prefer to avoid gym membership at this time of the year.

Here are Noom Coach Brooke Marchand’s top tips to help you keep your summer motivation right through winter:

  • Try and enjoy the natural sunlight for at least 20-30 minutes daily to boost vitamin D levels, as this helps to manage low moods and energy. In case you don’t get the time to walk during the winter months, eat vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms, salmon, and milk (including soy milk).
  • Travel around new places, routes, and locations and try new types of exercises to keep practices interesting.
  • Keep your feel-good summer music and listen to it all year round to stay motivated and upbeat.
  • Follow an established routine and stick to it right through the year. This will help you maintain a positive mindset throughout. It will also help you get better sleep which will result in having a better mood in the morning.

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