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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.

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Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep

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Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer

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Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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