The clocks go back this year on Sunday 28 October, but despite it getting dark earlier and the temperature dropping outside, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has revealed some top tips to help you stay active and lift your mood during the winter months.
Dr Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, PHA, said: “In the winter months it’s easy for us all to get into the habit of spending our spare time sitting down watching TV, playing computer games and generally being inactive. However, making small changes to increase our activity can make a significant difference to our health and wellbeing.”
Being active every day is really important for good health. Experts recommend that children should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day; adults are recommended to have at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days each week.
Being physically active can reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer. It also helps maintain a healthy weight and generally makes us feel better. It can also promote good mental health by improving mood, reducing anxiety and protecting against depression.
Dr Owen continued: “It’s important to stay safe when we’re being active outside in the dark, so remember to wear light coloured clothes or a high-viability vest or jacket if possible. There are many different activities to choose from if it’s too dark to go outside safely or if you feel the weather is too bad. Leisure centres across Northern Ireland offer facilities such as swimming pools, tennis, badminton and football courts which are a great way to get active as a family. They can be played at whatever pace suits you and your family, and most of all they’re great fun.
“But you don’t have to spend money to be active - make up indoor games like balloon volleyball or put on some music and do some dancing.
“We can turn routine chores like housework or gardening into a workout quite easily by just putting a bit of extra effort into the vacuuming, mopping the floors, mowing the grass and cleaning the windows.
“If it’s too dark to walk in the evening, we can try taking a walk at lunchtime. Increase our steps around the house or at work by walking up and down the stairs more often or using the bottom step as a ‘step machine’.”
Other small changes that you can make to your everyday routine to help lift your mood during the winter months are:
- eating a healthy, well-balanced diet;
- making your environment as bright and light as possible;
- talking to people and letting them know how you’re feeling so they can help and support you.
For further information on getting active visit www.getalifegetactive.com
Contact PHA Communications on (028) 9055 3663.