Just 29% of us walk daily in winter – here's how to motivate yourself to get out

The cold, dark and short days of winter can leave us wanting to cuddle up inside on the sofa, rather than venture out.

But it seems the colder months really do impact our activity levels, according to new research – which has found that just 29% of adults in the UK walk every during winter.

On the whole, going for a run or even heading out to the gym when it’s cold and dark isn’t the most appealing. But even just a short walk can help boost health and wellbeing – by getting those feel-good endorphins.

In fact, it seems we’ve moved away from the long, outdoor walks that we developed a passion for during lockdown. 

The research comes as Walking With The Wounded has launched a new campaign to get people walking again this Christmas – and raise money in the process.

The festive fundraising challenge, running from December 9-16, will be encouraging people to get moving outside – whether this is a short walk a day, a commitment to walk 26 miles over the 12 days, or joining one of the organised walks in London, Newcastle and Manchester.

If you’re looking to get your step count up this winter, we’ve got a few ways you can get motivated below…

Set reasonable goals

Sophie Whoriskey, a veterinarian and senior writer for Floofy Doodles, suggests starting small.

She says: ‘Don’t go out walking expecting to cover miles upon miles in one go. Instead, set shorter goals that you can achieve easily. This will help motivate you and keep yourself on track.’

Try to find a walking buddy

‘Having someone to walk with makes it more enjoyable and less of a chore,’ explains Sophie.

You could do a lunch break walk, or even a quick one before work. Alternatively why not walk to work with a friend or colleague.

Borrow a dog

‘Walking with my dog helps me to stay active and motivated during the winter months when it is easy to become sedentary,’ explains Sophie.

And if you don’t own one yourself, there are plenty of ways you can borrow one for a few hours – either from a friend or through a platform such as Borrow My Doggy.

Sophie continues: ‘If you don’t have a dog, you can offer to walk someone else’s dog to get you outside for exercise in the winter. This is a great way to get some fresh air and get your heart rate up. 

‘Walking a dog also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their lives.’

Create a daily routine around your walk

‘A daily structure can help you to create a routine that supports wellbeing in the winter months – and try to stay committed to a daily walk,’ says care expert and co-founder Will Donnelly, from Lottie.

Maybe you can schedule a phone call to catch up with friends, or listen to a podcast on a walk at lunchtime.

Make these things part of your routine, in order to stick to it.

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