by Professor Greg Whyte OBE - @gpwhyte

The holidays are over and it’s back to normality which can leave you feeling a little blue. Add to this the short days and lack of natural sunlight which results in one in three of us suffering from seasonal affectiveness disorder (SADS), and it’s not difficult to see why motivation hits its annual low. But, never fear, the miracle cure is simply a step away: exercise. Leading to the release of ‘happy hormones’ (endorphins) in the brain, exercise improves mood and self-esteem whilst reducing symptoms of depression. Just increasing your activity levels a little can have a major impact on your happiness and leave you feeling revitalised. For added benefit, take your exercise outdoors; it has been shown to provide even greater improvements in mental well-being compared to indoor exercise and, it’s free! In addition, exposure to natural light provides a Vitamin D fix which improves health and performance leading to a happier you.

Top Tips

Try something new: Starting a new activity can provide a real boost to your motivation. Learning a new skill, called ‘mastering’, increases your motivation in the long-term as you continue to improve, making it easier to keep up your new exercise lifestyle.

Girl trying rock climbing

Variety is the spice of life: Don’t get stuck in a rut; mix it up. Rather than exercising at the same pace, think about using intervals of easy and hard exercise. For example, short bouts of fast running with an easy walk between.

Pumping iron: Adding two sessions of strength exercise to your routine can improve performance and reduce injury. Don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like a body builder; just leaner and stronger.

friends at the night swim

Exercise buddies: Exercising with a friend or joining a class can make all the difference when it comes to motivation and enjoyment. Adding a social element to your exercise can be the difference between sitting or moving!

River Arun swim

The Green Gym: The great outdoors is free; open 24/7; no waiting for equipment; constantly changing scenery; and no travel time to get there.

In 2017 Greg took part in our Solent swim from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight as part of his '50 swims at 50' challenge. You can follow the rest of his swims here #50at50.  Find out more about our Solent swim here.

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