The importance of staying active during the colder months

Although the onset of colder weather and the additional restrictions in place to combat Covid-19 are making it a challenge right now, ‘en Joy dance fitness and Sport England are continuing to encourage people to be as active as possible over the autumn and winter months.

Our message is simple – being active is good for your physical health and good for your mental health and being as fit as possible right now is a great way to deal with illness and viruses.

But we know that people are feeling anxious about taking part in sport and activity and some people are worried generally about being around others. Rest assured, all ‘en Joy dance fitness classes comply with EMD UK group exercise guidelines, taking place in a Covid compliant venue with a certified and insured instructor. Safety first, with fun & fitness coming a very close second!

We want to help people feel comfortable to be as active as possible at this time.  We also want to make sure that our local community understands what is and isn’t allowed at this time. In short, people can still carry on being physically active, doing many of the activities that they love. Local gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are open for business, but with adult indoor team sports sticking to the ‘rule of six’. Our adult group exercise classes are not classed as team sport and are exempt from the rule of six, but we do have very limited spaces available to ensure each participant has at least 3m x 3m to exercise in, so pre-booking is absolutely essential at this time. If you come along to our dance fitness classes at Colden Common Community Centre, we’re in a nice big hall with windows and doors open to allow adequate air flow, a one way system in place and hand sanitising stations for you to use.

Over the course of the lockdown period, Sport England has conducted nationwide research to gain an insight into activity levels and attitudes towards being active up and down England, and close to 70% of people say they have used being active to help manage their mental health. However, we are all concerned about recent drop-offs in activity levels and will be doing everything we can to support our community to get more active. The research shows that just 29% of people are currently doing the recommended 30 minutes of activity five days a week. The latest data also shows 30% of over 55s are currently doing zero days of activity and that women are less likely to be regularly active than men.

During the colder months, our motivation to stay active can drop further. Going for a run on a cold, windy, rainy day just doesn’t have the same appeal as a run in the spring or summer. And getting up early on a cold, dark morning to head to the gym just makes some of us want to wrap the duvet around us even more tightly. You might not always look forward to coming along to our dance fitness classes either, especially if you have to walk there in the rain on a cold morning, knowing the doors and windows have to be left open to allow adequate ventilation in line with current guidelines. But it’s really important you do what you can, when you can, even if that’s just working out at home, or wrapping up to go out for a walk. If you do decide to come along to classes, bring an extra layer – a nice cosy sweatshirt or jacket, and we’ll do longer warm-ups on colder days to increase blood flow to the working muscles, reducing the risk of injuries, stiffness, aches and pains. We’re also busy planning a home workout programme where you can access on-demand recordings for those days you really don’t want to head out.

Sport England Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth said:

“Being active is a vital tool to help us cope mentally with the challenges the months ahead will bring and physically to be fitter and healthier, to boost our immunity and to ward off illness.  

“We know that people face real challenges right now in their daily lives, whether that’s anxiety about the virus itself, financial concerns or uncertainty about what is or isn’t allowed.  Our message is that there has never been a more important time to take some time to be physically active. That might be using your local gym, which will have strict protocols in place to ensure safety, playing football within the regulations or just going for a walk – it all counts.

“We’ve got loads of great resources to help on the Sport England website including tips on how to get started.”

This post was written in collaboration with Sport England. ‘en Joy dance fitness is proud to support Sport England’s Join The Movement campaign, to help local communities stay active during the pandemic, along with their This Girl Can campaign, encouraging more women to get involved in sport and fitness. The source of Sport England’s data is the Physical Attitudes and Behaviours Survey, with approximately 2000 adult participants.

Image: Sport England

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