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How to stay motivated to exercise during the winter months

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A woman exercising outdoors
Even a small bit of regular exercise gives you both physically and mentally

Cold days! Long dark evenings! All too frequent downpours! It’s no exaggeration to say that staying active and exercising regularly during the winter months is a lot harder for most people.

I think that we can all agree that there’s a massive difference between lacing up your runners for a nice evening jog in some balmy summer weather compared to a cold winter night.

But just because it’s winter, that doesn’t mean that you need to let all your fitness goals fall by the wayside and let all of your exercise gear gather dust in your wardrobe for the next few months. Here are some simple actionable tips that can make it much easier to stay active during the winter months.

Choose the right exercise gear

My top three recommendations for winter exercise apparel would have to be a good jacket, a good pair of runners and a base layer made of synthetic fabrics.

In terms of a good jacket, think waterproof and think lightweight. A waterproof jacket will keep you dry and help you avoid picking up a cold. A lightweight jacket is naturally important for exercise so as to not inhibit your movement.

In terms of runners, think waterproof and think good grip. There’s nothing worse and more unmotivating than wet feet! And let’s not forget the icy conditions and how important it is to have footwear that provides you with good grip to reduce slipping and sliding.

In terms of the base layer, this is a great way to insulate your body and stay warm during the winter months. It can make exercising in the cold weather a lot more palatable.

Here are some final bonus tips. Firstly, to wear something bright so that you are easier to spot in the darker conditions. And secondly, keep your extremities warm like your hands and head by wearing a hat. This is because during cold weather, the human body circulates blood less to the extremities to be better able to keep your core and trunk areas warm. You can always remove layers if you become too warm.

Set realistic goals for yourself

As previously stated, most people find it easier to be active during the summer months where long sunny days are plentiful, and I’m no exception!

It’s important to stop and have an honest conversation with yourself about what’s realistic during the winter months. Will you be able to exercise as often as you did during the summer? For a lot of people, the answer will be “no” and that’s okay!

As a Personal Trainer who has been involved in the fitness industry for almost 10 years, I can tell you that consistency is the number one driver of results. If you cannot maintain your summer routine, you’re much better off cutting down how often you exercise and at least being consistent with it. This will yield much better results than being stubborn and burning out because you’re ignoring what’s feasible for you.

On the other hand, you should also avoid the “all-or-nothing” mindset that stops so many people from reaching their fitness goals. Just because you can’t work out like you did during the summer months, that’s no reason to throw in the towel and to completely abandon exercise. Instead, you should adopt “all-or-something” thinking. Your health and fitness goals should not take a vacation just because it’s winter. Tell yourself that while you might not be able to exercise as much as you did during the summer, something is always better than nothing.

Set a realistic plan for the winter months and stick to it. That’s how you’ll build the habits that you need to stay consistent during the winter.

Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise

Never stop reminding yourself of all the amazing benefits that even a small bit of regular exercise gives you both physically and mentally. Exercise isn’t just about looking better and the superficial benefits. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones in your brain. It also improves bone density, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart health. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of serious disease like type 2 diabetes, strokes and cardiovascular diseases.

Transition to more indoor exercise

Exercising indoors is obviously much more weather-proof! That’s what makes it such a good option when the inclement winter weather strikes!

I won’t lie to you; I don’t enjoy walking on a treadmill as much as walking on a sunny beach, but it’s better than nothing and beggars can’t be choosers!

A great thing about transitioning to more indoor exercise during the winter is that you can really broaden your horizons and use it as a chance to experiment with other forms of exercise that you might otherwise never have tried. And you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find! Speaking from personal experience, this was one of the reasons why I managed to stumble across lifting weights almost 10 years ago…and the rest is history!

Another example, especially if you’re someone who struggles with staying motivated during the winter months, could be joining an online fitness class and work out with others from the comfort of your own home. This is a great way to add external accountability to your fitness goals.

Consider changing the time that you exercise at

With remote-working and more flexible working arrangements implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of people now benefit from more flexible working arrangements. If you fall into this category and you like to exercise outdoors, why not consider re-structuring your day a little bit? For example, could you move your evening summer run to lunchtime during the winter months?

Warm-up properly

One of the most common causes of exercise-related injuries is failing to warm up properly. Warming up helps to lubricate your joints. That’s why a cold muscle is much more likely to get injured. You should always warm up, but it’s even more imperative during the cold winter weather.

Your warmup should involve dynamic movements that mimic the muscle movement patterns that you are about to perform at a lower intensity. For example, before a run you could lightly jog on the spot and do some heel kicks and lunges.

Stay safe

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well-intentioned your plans are, circumstances outside of your power can intervene. Extreme weather conditions are no exception to this.

Extreme winds increase the chances of trees and other structures falling, as well as the chances of you losing your balance and falling. Extreme rain, frost and icy conditions also greatly increase your chances of falling and suffering an accident.

At the end of the day, being sensible and staying safe will always be more important than any outdoor exercise you might have planned. Extreme weather is never worth the risk.

Humans generally don’t like change and having to alter your exercise habits during the winter months is no exception to this. Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts can find exercising during winter hard going, so it’s important to not be too hard on yourself and to have a realistic plan in place for yourself.

I am a graduate lawyer with a passion for health & fitness. Whilst studying law at University College Dublin, I also qualified as a Personal Trainer and have worked with clients in Ireland and across the world via online coaching.

Lifestyle

Millions of people in Britain admit to making costly car mistakes

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a car being driven through the snow in the UK
Survey shows that 45% of Brits have driven without making sure that their screens and mirrors were properly clear

As winter takes hold and temperatures start to drop, a recent research by Aviva reveals the most common mistakes drivers could be making when it comes to getting behind the wheel this winter.

The research, which surveyed 2,000 Brits, reveals that more than a quarter (28%) are leaving their cars running to de-ice screens, with older generations most likely to take the risk. Over a third of those aged 75+ (41%) and those aged 65-74 (34%) leave their car on to de-ice screens, compared to 17% of 18-24 year-olds and 24% of 25-34 year-olds.

By doing so, Brits may be unwittingly putting themselves at risk with most car insurance policies excluding thefts of vehicles while the engine is still running. This is also an offence under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states that drivers cannot leave vehicles running and unattended while on a public highway, otherwise known as ‘quitting’.

When looking at visibility, the research reveals that almost half (45%) of Brits have driven without making sure that their screens and mirrors were properly clear. By doing so, motorists could also be risking a fine under Section 229 of the Highway Code, which states that all drivers ‘must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all windows’.

The top 10 winter driving habits that could cause issues:

1. I have left my car running to de-ice the screen and warm it up:  28%
2. I have driven in gloves:  21%
3. I have driven in a big winter coat:  20%
4. I have driven even though there is snow on the top of my car:  19%
5. I have driven even though the screen was not fully de-iced or de-misted:  16%
6. I have driven without checking that my number plate was clear:  16%
7. I have driven even though the screen wasn’t clear:  15%
8. I have driven even though I was too tired: 14%
9. I have driven even though the mirrors weren’t fully clear:  14%
10. I have driven through floodwater or a ford:  13%

“While we all want to get to our next destination as quickly as possible, it pays to be safe, particularly as the risk of an accident typically increases during the winter months. Spending five or ten minutes to prepare your car means that not only are you more likely to avoid an accident, but also a hefty fine – which can be as much as £1,000 – points on your licence or even a driving ban in the worst case scenario”, says Martin Smith, Motor Claims Manager at Aviva.

Other British driving habits include leaving the car unlocked to quickly pop into somewhere (13%), pouring boiling water over a car windscreen to de-ice it (11%) as well as wearing inappropriate footwear such as heels (9%) or wellies/snowboots (7%). Those driving whilst wearing inappropriate clothing and footwear could also risk a fine under Rule 97 of the Highway code which states that you should ensure: ‘clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.

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5 of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe this winter

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The Bulgarian ski resort of Borovets comes out on top as the cheapest, where a beer costs just £1.17 and a lift pass costs less than £30 a day.
The Bulgarian ski resort of Borovets comes out on top as the cheapest, where a beer costs just £1.17 and a lift pass costs less than £30 a day

Whether you are a seasoned skier or a first-timer, one thing that is for sure is that skiing can be a very expensive trip. Even if you don’t enrol for a celebrity-like skiing weekend, following on the footsteps of Kim Kardashian, Orlando Bloom, or Gwyneth Paltrow, the costs can pile up. as research shows Brits fork out between £500 and £750 per person on spending money for a ski trip. 

If you are keen to hit the slopes but are being mindful of the pennies, here is a shortlist of five of the cheapest resorts you can visit in Europe, based on the average cost of a lift pass, accommodation, ski rental, and of course food and drinks.

“Skiing can be a very expensive holiday, especially for families. However, there are some fantastic resorts out there offering surprisingly reasonable prices, without compromising on those amazing views and fantastic ski runs”, says Laura Evans-Fisk, head of digital and engagement at eurochange. “Borovets in Bulgaria came out on top as the cheapest ski resort. It’s definitely an underrated destination, with unbelievably low prices for food and drink, and a whole week lift pass for less than £150.” 

Borovets, Bulgaria

Topping the list is bargain-friendly Borovets, Bulgaria. The country is quickly becoming a cheap and cheerful favourite spot for skiers, and it’s easy to see why. Located in the Rila mountains, Borovets is an all-round resort providing luxury amenities at very reasonable prices. With fabulous nightlife as well as gentle slopes for beginners, it’s an ideal destination for adults and families alike. Ski passes start from just £29 per day, so you could really save some cash if you visit for just a few days.  

  • Adult lift pass (6 days): Лв370 (£143.75)
  • Ski rental (6 days): Лв155 (£60.22) 
  • Accommodation (per night): From Лв135 (£52.45) 
  • Beer: Лв3 (£1.17) 
  • Wine: Лв6 (£2.33) 
  • 3-course meal: Лв15 (£5.83) 

Vogel, Slovenia

Lesser known than its Austrian and Italian neighbours, Slovenia’s Vogel resort is no less spectacular. Tucked away in the stunning Julian Alps, Vogel offers exceptional value alongside outstanding snow sports facilities and stunning views. The après is one of the cheapest around, with beer costing just €2, and a three-course meal setting you back just €17. 

Les Houches, France 

For a Mont Blanc ski holiday without the Chamonix prices, look no further than Les Houches. A top choice for families, this picturesque village is quiet at night, while the neighbouring high-altitude areas are perfect for advanced skiers. A six-day adult ski pass is less than £200 and equipment can be rented for less than £100 for the week. 

  • Adult lift pass (6 days): €197 (£158.46) 
  • Ski rental (6 days): from €114 (£91.70) 
  • Accommodation (per night): From €77 (£61.94) 
  • Beer: €2 (£1.61) 
  • Wine: €5 (£4.02) 
  • 3-course meal: €20 (£16.09) 

Livigno, Italy 

Nestled in the heart of the Alps, Italy‘s Livigno offers sterling snowsport facilities for all skill levels, from absolute beginners to black slope aficionados. And thanks to its tax-exempt status, Livigno provides premium resort standards at budget prices, giving you far more for your euros than most other ski destinations on the continent.

  • Adult lift pass (6 days): €223* (£179.38) 
  • Ski rental (6 days): from €74.00* (£59.52) 
  • Accommodation (per night): From €101 (£81.24) 
  • Beer: €3 (£2.41) 
  • Wine: €10 (£8.04) 
  • 3-course meal: €30 (£24.13) 
Grindelwald is one of the more affordable resorts for getting the Swiss ski holiday experience.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

While Switzerland tends to be an expensive country to visit, Grindelwald is one of the more affordable resorts for getting the Swiss ski holiday experience. Even if you’re not a keen skier, there are plenty of other activities to try out, including tobogganing and winter walking.  Set in the beautiful Jungfrau mountains, Grindelwald provides a picture-perfect slice of the Alps for far less than you’d expect.

  • Adult lift pass (6 days): SFr385 (£308.79) 
  • Ski rental (6 days): from SFr237 (£190.09) 
  • Accommodation (per night): From SFr57 (£45.72) 
  • Beer: SFr2 (£1.60) 
  • Wine: SFr13 (£10.43) 
  • 3-course meal: SFr24 (£19.25) 

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New iPhone photography exhibition opens in Paris

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A shot of some of the work being displayed at the iPhone 15 photo exhibition in Paris
The two-day event held at the Salon Corderie features work from five photographers, all shot on iPhone

“I Remember You,” a two-day photography exhibition, has opened today in Paris highlighting original work shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The collective work of photographers Malin Fezehai, Karl Hab, Vivien Liu, Mika Ninagawa, and Stefan Ruiz incorporates people, places, and things that move them, exploring memories and the power of photography to preserve them.

“‘I Remember You’ brings together five photographers who share their deeply personal conceptions of memory, connection, and nostalgia,” explains Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., the exhibition’s curatorial advisor. “It is a moving glimpse of life, preserved in time.”

In celebration of the opening, each artist spoke about how iPhone has contributed to their creative process and what they hope people will remember from their featured work.

Malin Fezehai is an Eritrean/Swedish photographer, filmmaker, and visual reporter currently living in New York. She has worked in over 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and America. Fezehai is a National Geographic explorer, and in 2023, she became a Climate Pledge grantee. She is working on a project about adaptation to living on water. Her career started in her native Sweden, where she studied photography before attending the International Center of Photography in New York. Her work focuses on communities of displacement and dislocation around the world. She was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to photograph survivors of violent extremism across sub-Saharan Africa and published a book titled Survivors. She has received a 2015 World Press Photo Award and the Wallis Annenberg Prize, and was named one of the “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch” in 2015 by Photo District News. Her image depicting a wedding of Eritrean refugees in Israel was the first iPhone photo ever to receive a World Press Photo Award.

“The integration of the iPhone into my photography workflow marked a significant shift in how I perceive and capture the world around me — feeling more inclined to capture life as it happens — the fleeting, candid moments that often define the human experience,” Fezehai says. “Its ease of use and ability to capture high-quality images effortlessly enables me to explore and document the ordinary in extraordinary ways. That sentiment is embodied in the work I created for the show.”

“I Remember You” will be on display at the Salon Corderie in Le Marais in Paris on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, from 11 am to 7 pm.

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