Get active and lose the Christmas bulge

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JANUARY is traditionally a time for New Year’s resolutions and working off the festive flab.

So what better way to start 2012 than choosing to walk and cycle more? Warwickshire County Council’s Sustainable Travel Team recommends that everyone regularly walks and cycles to help keep minds and bodies fit and healthy.

At this time of year many people experience the winter blues also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because of dark nights and mornings, having put on weight over Christmas and with no holidays to look forward to for a long time. Taking part in an outdoor physical activity like walking and cycling improves health and overall mood.

Walking and cycling are excellent forms of aerobic physical activity which unlike the gym allow everyone to spend time outdoors to appreciate our surroundings and feel a sense of achievement of getting from A to B. Forms of moderate exercise like this reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type-II diabetes, osteoporosis, some cancers and hypertension and they also promote all-round health and well being (World Health Organisation, 2002).

People who regularly cycle are thought to have a body as fit as someone around 10 years younger and the adrenaline and endorphin releases make us feel happier.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport and Highways, said: “A great New Year’s resolution is to walk and cycle more. We can all do a bit more exercise and walking and cycling can be incorporated into any lifestyle, whether it is taking the children to school or cycling all or part of the way to work once a week.”