We Are Undefeatable tackles the winter blues with activity
The campaign's Move to Your Mood videos are being bolstered with tips to stay active as the darkness creeps in and the temperatures drop.
As the clocks go back and the hours of daylight decrease, the We Are Undefeatable campaign continues with TV’s Dr Zoe Williams’ ten top tips to boost your mood through movement this winter.
A continuation of the Move to Your Mood campaign burst that launched in August, the tips can be adapted depending on your level of mobility and have been tailored to help those with a long-term health condition find ways to beat the winter blues.
Almost three quarters, 73%, of those living with a long-term health condition have said they feel their physical activity is restricted during winter due to the weather, while 40% feel restricted due to low energy levels in winder and 37% due to body aches associated with lower temperatures.
But with research showing that 67% of those who do some form of physical activity feeling it helps to lift their mood, and 18% saying mental wellbeing is their biggest motivator when getting active, Dr Williams hopes these tips can make a real difference.
“Winter is a difficult season for all, but can be especially challenging for people living with a long-term health condition,” she said.
“I’ve always supported the notion that physical activity is one of the best ways to support both physical and mental health, which are both so important to maintain during this season.
“Moving our bodies in any shape or form can help improve our moods, even when there are obstacles beyond our control such as darker and colder days.
“That’s why I’m working with We Are Undefeatable to share some simple tips on ways you can find movements that work for you this winter.”
Dr Williams' tips for improving your mood through exercise
Get outside while the sun's out
Although the days feel shorter, try to get outside when the sun is out. Even if it's just for a short period, getting some sunlight and fresh air can be really beneficial for our moods. This outdoor movement can be an everyday task such as carrying shopping back from the shops, going on a dog walk or even doing some gardening, so wrap up warm and give it a go.
Stick to short bursts
Aerobic activities such as boxing or even star jumps are a great way to get your heart rate up in a short amount of time. Doing small bursts of physical activity throughout the day releases endorphins, helping to boost your mood.
Get active at home
For days when it's harder to get outside, there are plenty of movements you can do in your home too. For example, you can use tins as weights to do some gentle lifting at home while watching TV, you could do some squats while you wait for the kettle to boil or you could get your activity in by doing household chores such as vacuuming - all movement counts!
Go out for a walk
A walk is a great way to boost your energy levels, as it's a gentle way to get your blood flowing, with the most benefits coming when you go at a brisk pace. Walking is a great low impact cardio exercise which allows you to gradually build your fitness levels whilst being gentle on your joints. Remember to listen to your body, you can adapt your speed to suit the level of activity you feel like you can manage.
If you get to the end of the day and realise you haven’t moved as much as you could have, you could do some simple stretches before bed to help you unwind and rest easily. There are many benefits to stretching before bed and relaxing your muscles, including reducing stiffness and discomfort which may improve your sleep.
Do what you enjoy
With the change in weather, and the darker, shorter days, it’s common for people to experience a lack of motivation when it comes to being physically active. Choosing an activity you enjoy and varying the physical activity you do is a good way to ensure you incorporate movement into your day. Being active with a friend or family member or taking a class is also a good way to stay motivated, as you can encourage each other on days you need an extra boost.
Make time to get active
Shorter days may make people feel like they have less time to be active - the short, five minute ‘Move to Your Mood’ videos, created by We Are Undefeatable and suitable for all ability and mobility levels are a great, easy and time effective way to add some physical activity to your daily routine and over time could allow you to build up the time you spend being physically active. Aiming to do some physical activity every day - however you wish to move – can help us feel happier and healthier.
Vary your activities
There’s a type of movement for everyone. You don’t need specialist equipment to be physically active and there are lots of cost-effective ways to exercise at home and outdoors. Try different activities and have fun experimenting with what works for you, and your mood everyday, until you find something you like. Setting yourself achievable goals to work towards can help give you the motivation to get moving and to keep going throughout the winter.
Movement for mind and body
If you’re feeling worried or anxious, aerobic activities such as dancing may be a great way to relieve tension, get your heart rate up in a good way and boost your energy levels. Dancing can provide relief from tension and has been shown to reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and most of all can make moving feel fun!
Stress busting swim
If you’re feeling stressed, you could try swimming for a calm and focussed activity which is great for your body and mind. The methodical nature of swimming makes it a great exercise to do when feeling stressed as it gives you something to focus your mind, which may help to reduce your stress levels.
While getting outdoors during winter might still be an option for some, we know that more than half of those with a long-term health condition prefer to do their exercise at home.
For those, there’s Gok Wan’s Move to Your Mood exercise videos that can be done indoors and are tailored to different moods.
The easy-to-follow videos are available online and Michelle Roberts – physical activity and health programme lead at the Richmond Group of Charities behind We Are Undefeatable – hopes the resources offer something for everyone this winter.
“We want to encourage people living with long term health conditions to find ways to keep moving this winter, despite the weather,” she said.
“For those living with a health condition, physical activity can boost both your mental and physical health and we want to make sure that everyone feels supported to remain active in a way that works for them.”
We Are Undefeatable
Share the Move to Your Mood tips and exercise videos and sign up as a We Are Undefeatable supporter to access more assets aimed at helping people with long-term health conditions to be active.
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