How to keep fit in the cold!

 By Bella Dunning

With the dark and unbearably cold days upon us, winter seems bleak and depressing. Most mornings I question whether to actually venture into the cold, when I can have the warmth of a cuppa and my hot water bottle by my side instead. This winter season has felt extremely difficult, especially with deadlines looming. It seems easy to fall into hibernation mode and neglect exercise completely. But, surprisingly, doing some form of exercise each week has helped me get me through the tough winter days.

I have enjoyed going for jogs this semester and so I try to go for a run twice a week. I am a person that can sleep till noon, unfortunately, and so getting up in the morning is a chore – which is why I go jogging with my two housemates. They are not only an incentive for me to leave my beloved bed, but they keep me motivated whilst on the run (as I try to keep up with them!) Because I have only been interested in jogging this semester, my running outfit comprises of an old pyjama top and some washed-out Adidas tracksuit bottoms – hardly sleek I know, but they actually keep me warm! I also swear by the thick woolly pair of gloves I wear whilst running.

Regardless of my embarrassing attire, the thing I love about jogging is that, whilst it gets me up in the mornings, it makes me feel like I’ve done something productive. I feel uplifted after each jogging session and this positive attitude carries on throughout the day.

Going for runs has also made me appreciate how beautiful Norwich is, especially in the winter! If you are thinking about taking up jogging as an activity, pick a park to run past, or through, as there is nothing more delightful then seeing frozen dew set over the grass, untouched and undisturbed. Whilst these brisk winter jogs are cold at first, it is wonderful to explore certain parts of Norwich you wouldn’t even believe existed. If you simply can’t face the cold weather outside then an alternative would always be to exercise indoors or at a gym, but there is something special about having your own space to exercise, where you can experience the beautiful landscapes Norwich has to offer.

If you can’t tempt any of your housemates to join you on jogs, why not try Parkrun. This free event takes place every Saturday at 9am and is a 5k run open to all abilities. From novice runners to experienced Olympians, anyone can get involved. I went to my first parkrun, held in Earlham Park, a couple of weeks ago and the atmosphere was great. Surrounded by more than a hundred people, I met a range of friendly locals but more importantly, I felt inspired by other joggers whilst being cheered on by the volunteers.

If I haven’t persuaded you to get your running shoes on, you could always swap your bus journey for a bicycle. I cycle onto campus every day and although the icy wind may take you by surprise, cycling keeps me fit and healthy. As well as saving money, commuting to uni by bike allows me to worry less about making the bus or hitting traffic.

So, I hope I have demonstrated that you can still exercise even in the cold weather. Exercising has given me some well-needed space away from my studies that is not revolved around the SU bar or drunken nights at the LCR. Before joining UEA, I always said to myself that I should try to do as much as I can and taking up running has proved beneficial, not only with improving my health, but it is an activity I can do on my terms, and exploring Norwich is an added bonus!

Image courtesy of Charlotte Gaines

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