Millions of adults “dread” the winter months because their physical activity will decrease
A study of 2,000 adults found that more than half went out less during the last season of the year than at any other time, blaming the cold, humid weather, less daylight and a lack of motivation.
And two-thirds find it difficult to engage in physical activity during the winter months, with 59% citing the weather as the biggest motivator.
But the research also surveyed 1,000 adults with long-term health problems and found that only 14% of that group were able to stay motivated to be physically active during the winter months.
Of these, nearly three-quarters feel limited when it comes to physical activity in winter due to the weather.
Other reasons included reduced energy (40%), feeling tired (43%) and muscle stiffness (37%).
The research was commissioned by We Are Undefeable, which supports people with long-term health conditions to enable them to be more active.
NHS GP and Media Officer Dr Dawn Harper, who works with We Are Undefeatable, said: “The study shows how the seasons can impact the amount of movement we do.
“But it can be even more difficult for people with a long-term health problem to maintain their level of physical activity, especially in the winter.
“We know how important it is for this group to stay active and, as a general practitioner, one of my roles is to reassure people living with a medical condition that the benefits of physical activity are good. outweigh the risks, which are very low. “
Winter leads to a decrease in physical activity
The study also found that winter can lead to a decrease in the amount of physical activity people do each day.
People living with health problems get almost an hour less physical activity in winter – an average of 124 minutes per week compared to 169 minutes in summer.
While the typical adult is active for 142 minutes each week during the colder months, compared to just over three hours during the summer months.
Those who do less feel demotivated
It has also been found that doing less or no physical activity leaves people feeling demotivated (34 percent), tired (28 percent) and depressed (24 percent).
Worrisome, for those with long-term health issues, winter also leaves them more alone (49%) than those with no health-related restrictions (36%).
And 68% of adults with health concerns, surveyed via OnePoll, feel less confident going outside in the cold and dark for physical activity.
But many of them tried to get around their own homes, including doing housework (52%), stretching by leaning on countertops or walls (33%), and using household items as weight (28%).
DR DAWN HARPER’S TIPS FOR STAYING ACTIVE IN WINTER:
1. Try to make the most of the morning light by incorporating a gentle walk into your morning routine.
2. Doing little and often can make a big difference to your physical and mental well-being. You may find it helpful to start small. Try squats or stretching while you wait for the kettle to boil, or lift cans of baked beans while cooking – watch this video for inspiration on other home activities you can do with household items. https://www.youtube.com / watch? v = rxgdgPmmDig
3. See if a friend or family member will participate in physical activity with you each week. It can be for a walk in the park, or you are both doing the same session online – it increases motivation to keep going, but can also reduce feelings of loneliness.