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This summer saw plenty of hot days in Dorset, meaning exercise regimes possibly fell by the wayside in exchange for BBQs, al fresco wining and dining, and lazy weekends doing very little due to the excessive heat.
Now the weather has cooled down considerably and the nights are drawing in, you may find relaxing on a cosy sofa in front of the TV a far more attractive prospect than heading out for a run in the rain. Autumn, however, is actually a great time to get back into a routine so don’t let those chilly mornings or wet evenings put you off. In this article, we will look at how to get active for autumn and explore some cold weather exercise tips.
Staying safe while exercising at this time of year is very important. Visibility starts to become an issue and while it isn’t usual to experience weather extremes during the autumn, the season can still throw everything at us, from mild and sunny days to howling gales and sharp frosts. Therefore, it is essential to ensure you wear the right clothing, particularly when it’s cold.
Your clothing and footwear play an important role in keeping you safe. Below we’ve listed what kit you might need before setting out.
Now that you’ve taken that all-important step of leaving the sofa and are now out in the fresh air, you need to ensure you don’t put your health or personal safety at risk. Which is why you should take the following into consideration:
Even in cold weather, there are still plenty of different exercises you can do to help you stay active. Whether you’re someone who works out daily, or someone who enjoys a gentler pace, we can help find the right activity for you.
We may be a little biassed, but Dorset in the autumn is a thing of beauty. The landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of colours and who can resist the sound of crunching leaves underfoot on woodland walks? This is why we consider walking to be one of the best activities you can do to stay active in autumn. According to the NHS, a daily 10 minute walk can count towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Our Accessible Walks in Dorset article can help you choose the perfect walking trail for you.
Alternatively, you might wish to join a walking group to make it a more social activity. You can use our LiveWell Finder tool to help find walking groups in your area.
Now is the perfect time to head out on two wheels along one of Dorset’s many cycling trails. According to the NHS, cycling can reduce the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It is also a great mood booster and can help improve mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Being a low-impact exercise means it's gentler on your joints compared to high-impact exercises such as running.
As well as the health benefits, cycling with friends or family can be a fantastic bonding experience. You can find out more about this in our article Cycling for Families.
Running outdoors in autumn is ideal as you don’t have to worry about avoiding the hot midday sun or getting caught in a snowstorm. You do still need to be aware of your environment, especially if running through woodland or rural areas where there are plenty of slip and trip hazards. Make sure you have the right amount of layers and don’t forget to take a water bottle with you. If you’re not used to running and find it a daunting prospect, why not give the free NHS Couch to 5K app a try? It’s designed specifically for those who have done little or no running and, with guided support from a coach of your choice, will help get you off the couch and running five kilometres in just nine weeks!
For the more adventurous among you, autumn is a great time for wild/open water swimming. This activity has grown in popularity in recent years and the health benefits are said to include a boost to the immune system, better sleep and improved mood. If this is a little too far out of your comfort zone, a dip of just your feet and legs in cold water has multiple benefits. Alternatively, if you like your water a bit warmer, a visit to your local indoor swimming pool can be just as refreshing.
If you would like to try something a little more challenging than walking during the autumn months, then hiking is definitely for you. We’re spoilt for choice in Dorset for hiking trails - one of the best in our opinion has to be along the expansive Dorset coastline where you can take in sights such as Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove along the way. Always make sure you have suitable footwear for hiking, especially along uneven or rough terrain.
We hope this article has inspired you to get out and about during these colder months. If you would like to find out more about how LiveWell Dorset can help you stay active, why not register or talk to us today. Our team of advisors and coaches are here to help you get active and achieve your goals. We've supported more than 30,000 people in Dorset to date. Read about some of those success stories and see if they inspire you to get active for autumn.
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