Come Over to the Dark Side



Working in the evenings, I have really seen the change of light; with it often being dusky as I start and pitch black when I finish.

Driving home, I love to see people embrace the outdoors. Last night I spotted a few runners, a couple of cyclists, a dog walker and the distant shimmer of a fell walker’s head torch.

At the height of summer, on the summer solstice, the UK enjoys a hefty 16 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight. However, that is going to shrink to a measly 7 hours and 40 minutes on the winter solstice. Putting the clocks back should encourage us to take advantage of the little daylight we get.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. On the 25th October 2020 the clocks will fall back an hour marking the 104th anniversary of the passing of The Summer Time Act of 1916. The opportunity for an accelerated sunrise is great for us early birds as the mornings are lighter and it’s easier to get out of bed and get on with the day.

For many though, the evening is when most of us enjoy going for a run, cycle or walk. It may be that this is the best time for the family to be together or for you to burn off some stress following the working day, or simply that this is the meeting time of your local outdoor sporting club.

It’s also the beginning of the ‘hibernation season’. It's harder to find motivation and easier to catch up on those TV series you’ve just been dying to watch!

Autumn is a fresh start!

Let’s look at the positives of the evenings drawing in. Summer’s over, the new school term starts in September and for a lot of us it’s like the new year, a clean slate, a fresh start.

So, what are the positives of longer nights and shorter days?

Firstly, as it gets darker earlier the air temperature will fall quickly, so you’ll work harder to keep warmer and you can increase your endurance. Those lovely cool September evenings are perfect for a bit of cardio!

Secondly, for those with a severe alarm clock allergy, here’s some science to back up your early morning exercise aversion; the data in this link shows that most people are able to achieve peak performance in the evening:

Is the thought of a night time jog still feeling you with dread? Here are some tips to get you in the mood to move!

Pick an activity you like - there’s no point committing to running if even the mere thought makes you break out in a cold sweat. Dancing around the house, indoor pilates, tai chi or a good old game of netball are some fun, doable alternatives! Think about what would make you most likely to get moving and do it. Simple!

Be prepared - if your trainers are unlaced and sitting by the door you’ll have no excuse to get outside! However, if you prefer exercising indoors, take a few minutes to explore the many excellent fitness channels on Youtube. You’ll definitely find something that’s perfect for you. A favourite of mine is Jessica Smith, a down to earth personal trainer who has an exercise session for every level and every mood. Indoor exercise is cheap and you can do it whenever the fancy takes you!

Set realistic goals - yes, you’ve probably heard this a lot but SO many of us rush into a strict regime because we want quick results! After a couple of gruelling HIIT sessions we throw our hands up into the air and give up. After all, isn’t it easier to stick on Netflix than throw ourselves around the living room? Start with a couple of sessions a week. Even if it’s only a fifteen minute walk. It doesn’t even have to be brisk! By incrementally increasing your exercise sessions your fitness levels will improve giving you the energy for that longer brisk walk.

I hope I’ve sold you on some autumnal activity! Now, get out into those gorgeous reds and golds and enjoy this spectacular time of year!

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Fellside Physiotherapy Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
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