AS the days draw in and temperatures drop, you may be tempted to hang up your exercise gear and hibernate.


Stay active throughout autumn and winter to beat those seasonal blues and feel on top of the world.

Regular exercise will make you feel more energetic, which should make it a little easier to get out of your warm bed on cold, dark mornings.

Your body's defences will also benefit.

There is some limited research suggesting that moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of coughs and colds.

If the shorter days are affecting your mood, being active can improve your sense of wellbeing.

You may be tempted to eat more during the colder months. Exercising will help you manage your weight better and keep your body in shape.

If you're starting a new exercise regime, don't overdo it.

Slowly build the amount of exercise you do.

If you can't manage 30 minutes in one go, break it up into 10-minute chunks.

Always warm-up for up to 10 minutes before you start.

Walk at a brisk pace, or jog to warm your muscles.

Make sure you're warm if you're going outside.

Wear several layers to keep the heat in.

A lot of heat escapes through your head, so consider wearing a hat as well.

If you're exercising after dark, keep to well-lit areas and wear bright and reflective clothing.

Ideally, exercise with a friend, but always tell someone where you're going.

Avoid listening to music while running outdoors.

Not hearing what's going on around you can make you vulnerable.

If rain or ice is making exercise dangerous, do it another day.

The weather might be better tomorrow, but an injury could take weeks to heal.

How to stay motivated in the autumn / winter months:

Create heat:

Adjust the thermostat timer to warm your home or bedroom before the alarm goes off. If the temperature outside the duvet is as enjoyable as inside, the excuse is gone. Even better, put your workout clothes on the heater or radiator so they are toasty warm and ready for you when you climb out of bed.

Recreate early sunlight:

Invest in a bedside lamp that simulates natural daylight. Starting your day with natural light will help activate your internal clock to get ready to take on the day.

Tune your alarm:

Rather than a normal, annoying alarm clock, use your iPod or similar device to play specific songs that get you going. It doesn't need to be your techno dance mix, but something that lifts your mood and energy will do wonders for your ability to get out of bed on the first try.

Find a friend:

Find someone who will commit to joining you in the morning for walks or workouts, and hold you accountable for showing up. Knowing someone is waiting for you to share the pain of the early darkness might be just the stimulus you need to throw back the covers and get out of the house.

Put your head under water:

Rather than clinging to the comfort of your favourite housecoat while shuffling to the kitchen for a coffee, make a beeline to the shower. The water will wake you. Getting dressed right away also will help get you past the urge to lounge lazily over your latte.

Keep it simple, smarty:

The best way to overcome our excuses is to not create them in the first place. The more things that need to fall into place in order to get to the gym on time, the more likely we are to find a reason not to go. If you have to drive too far in the snow, you're creating extra hurdles that will attract excuses.

Most importantly remember that your abs are made in the winter. Don’t neglect exercising in the winter months. You will regret it once the warmer months come.