For most people, January is not exactly the time of year to go on long walks, cycle along the coast, or even to just go outside and play with your friends or children. January is cold, it’s wet, and for most people, it gets dark before we have even finished work.
After a long Christmas period of running around shopping and visiting relatives, it can be tempting to just stay in and relax. But a month without exercise leads to muscle loss, decreased breathing ability, and a lack of motivation, to name just a few points. In order to help you avoid falling into any bad habits, we have compiled a list of nine easy ways to keep moving throughout January.
Walk at Lunch
Sitting inside at a desk for hours on end is never a good idea, so a lunchtime walk is a good idea no matter what time of year it is. But they can be particularly beneficial in winter, as they not only get you moving, but also get you out into the sunlight. This is important for regulating things like mood and sleep, so try to have a quick lunch and squeeze a walk in as often as possible.
Park Further Away
While you may need to consider this more carefully depending on where you work and when you get off, parking further away from the office is another way to get a walk in both before and after work. You could also find that it is easier to find a spot when you park five or ten minutes away, or that even taking public transport could reduce your commute.
Although many people commit to going to the gym in the New Year, only to forget where it is by February, you might have more success in taking up cycling. This is less of an undertaking, but still keeps you moving, and with the Bike to Work scheme, you could save up to 51% on the price of a bike, or get up to €1,000 worth of safety equipment.
Don’t Forget the Dog
Just because you don’t want to go out in the cold, wet, or dark doesn’t mean your dog feels the same way. It may not be a surprise that dogs spend more time outdoors in summer than in winter, but they usually like to get out and get moving no matter what time of year it is. Try to take them out for at least 30 minutes a day, and try to fit in a longer walk at least once a week.
We may be used to the idea of spring cleaning, but why save the task for a sunny time of year when you’re going to spend so much of January inside anyway. This is also a great time to organise the stuff that accumulated during Christmas, and it doesn’t even have to be done all at once. Doing one task a day, such as hoovering or organising the junk closet, can keep you moving, and will help have the house gleaming before you know it.
You may not think of January as a typical time of year for gardening, but planning ahead now can help you achieve beautiful results by summer. From digging, to trimming, to planting, to composting, there is plenty of work to be done that will keep you moving, and that will provide tangible results later on.
Take the Stairs
If you work a few floors up, taking the stairs is a good way to fit in a quick bit of aerobic exercise. Not only is this something you can probably do several times a day, you may even find that it’s faster than waiting for the elevator. Alternatively, you can try out a short home stairs exercise routine.
Ease into Things
January is infamous for people joining gyms, and quickly losing interest. Instead of falling into the trap of signing up for an expensive membership you’ll never use, try doing some simple exercises at home, such as push ups or sit ups. This will keep you moving throughout January, and if you keep it up, it might be a sign that you could sign up to the gym and actually go.
Don’t be Too Strict
Finally, remember that not everyone is trying to be a sports star. If you are just trying to make more of an effort to be healthy and move a bit more, then don’t force yourself to stick to an exact routine. If it’s lashing rain, you can replace cycling or walking with an indoor activity. If your arms are tired of doing push ups, then go for a walk. If your primary goal is to keep moving, then don’t worry too much as long as you’re making the effort.