We asked Lorraine from Gorey Physical Therapy why we should all be trying to include a form of physical activity in our lifestyle as we head towards Winter in North Wexford, read her blog below!

I think it would be fair to say that this year has not exactly gone to plan for most people. I think it is also fair to say that this year has beean a tough mental journey for most people. I know it has been for me and I know of people who would never get stressed, that suffered badly from stress. It was not an easy time and it was totally unnatural way to live, but it had to be done at the time.

The one thing that I found kept me sane was going for my walk every evening. We were very fortunate with the weather at the time. I found it was a great opportunity to get back into running more regularly as well. Another thing that I tried, that I was never really into before, were home workouts. For me, the focus here was strength. As I could not go to the gym, this was important to me. And you would be surprised with what you could do with little or no weights. Bodyweight exercises and some imagination can go a long way here. These things were vital for keeping my mental and physical health relatively good at the time. It gave me some focus and gave me an outlet during these mental times.
The benefits of exercise have always been well documented and known but I feel that from time to time they need to be highlighted. Some of these are as follows:

For your Mental Health:
• It relieves stress
• Help you feel more relaxed and positive
• Improve your memory
• Help ease depression or anxiety
• Has been shown to have a positive impact on ADHD, PTSD and trauma
• Helps to improve your resilience when faced with mental or emotional challenges, allowing you to cope with them in a healthy way.

For Your Physical Health
• Help you to manage weight
• Help you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels
• Help you to prevent heart disease
• Help to boost your immune system
• Allow you to have a better sleep
• Help boost energy levels
• Improve your self esteem
• Prevent osteoporosis
• Improve balance and prevent falls as you age

For Your Emotional Health
• Increased happiness
• Better Self Confidence
• Develop and Strengthen Relationships
• Improvements in your mood

Exercise is the most under prescribed resource by all healthcare practitioners. It is something I try encourage all of my clients to do, even if they can only manage a walk around their garden at the time, without too much discomfort or finding a different type of exercise for the time being that they can do relatively pain free. As you can see the benefits of it are unbelievable. Now I know that I can harp on about the benefits of exercise all day and that most people will know about these benefits. And I also know that exercise will not sort all our problems and is by no more a cure. But we must acknowledge that exercise can have the power to making us feel somewhat better.

When we are moving into an uncertain time, this winter, I feel that exercise is a great tool to have to help us mentally, physically, or emotionally. We could use it as an excuse to have a socially distant walk/run/cycle with a friend, take some time for ourselves or to have fun with your family taking part in an activity that you all enjoy.
We are also extremely blessed in North Wexford with a variety of walking trails that are available to us. Pop on to the website, www.wexfordwalkingtrail.ie and you will be spoiled for choice with just North Wexford alone. From the lovely woodland walks in Courtown and Askamore (Sliubh Bhui) to the gorgeous cliff walk at Cahore and for a walk with views to die for at Tarahill and Croaghan. These are just a few local ones surrounding Gorey and that does not cover the cycling trails, garden trails and heritage trails in the area. I personally love the walks in Askamore and at Cahore. Very different types of walks but both equally gorgeous.

So I put it to you now. If you are finding yourself at a loose end some weekend, the weather is ok but not great and your just not feeling 100% yourself. You may feel bogged down with what is going on in life. Maybe try just go for a walk down the road, in the woods and on the beach, and see how you feel after. Maybe even try a short cycle if you are into it. Even if you forget what has you, not feeling great, for a few minutes then I would call that a win. Here is to getting through winter and to trying to stop the negativity getting to us with the help of exercise.

Best Wishes

Lorraine, Gorey Physical Therapy