Whether you love them or hate them New Year’s is a time when people make Resolutions. The start of a new beginning and many are too ambitious and do not last the week. I believe that small steps can make a big difference at the end of the year as long as you remain realistic. Why not consider the New Year’s Resolution of getting outdoors more. I have previously written about the many benefits of getting outside. This could even be combined with becoming more active. This can be a totally free resolution depending on what you want to do and when you want to do it. Other things can involve small costs as equipment is needed or desired.
Getting Outside as a New Year’s Resolution
Generally getting outside for your New Year’s Resolution will involve wearing the right clothing for the weather. Of course this is also dependent on where you live and what you want to do whilst you are outside. If you are generally not very active, then first start with just regularly getting outside, this may mean you need things to keep your warm. Think about your whole body and just how cold you get where you live. If you are combining this with travel then you need to consider what it is like where you are going. When it is really cold then layers are a good idea – not only because they trap the heat but because you can easily remove or add them back again. Footwear is also really important – again consider the environments you may want to walk on, and the temperature around. For our trip to Iceland, for example, I decided on these Merrell Murren Strap Boots from JD Williams as they are waterproof, have a Thermo insulator and a rubber grip: Perfect for walking and keeping my feet warm.
Running as a New Year’s Resolution
Running can be a really inexpensive activity and is a perfect New Year’s Resolution as anyone and everyone can do it. Running is so good for the confidence and self-esteem for many as it seems to be one of those activities that people seem to think they cannot do but really they can! I was completely unfit when I started running and this year have even taken part in a half marathon. You can start by walking – and this of course doesn’t involve anything extra at all. But the costs really can start to mount up (if you let them) with running clothes, running shoes, entering races (which can lead to fancy dress items) and not to mention all the post-race cake costs. Whether you opt for running shoes that are fitted with gait analysis or whether you go down the barefoot route is up to you. Personally I have had more luck with my Vivobarefoot* trainers but more people will advise on having fully-supportive shoes.
Running in the Dark
For many of us running in the dark is our only option fitting it in before or after work, but of course when you run in the dark there is extra things to consider to keep you safe. You may not want to be seen but for your safety it is paramount. It is a good idea to run with either a dog or someone else. This of course means that you are not alone if something does go wrong – and more likely to be seen in the dark. I recommend joining a running club: I only pay £2 a week when we meet on a Tuesday and there is often other runs arranged throughout the week at no extra charge. Running clubs are also good on the social side (also meeting outside of running and even taking holidays together) and are really good at helping to keep you motivated: I think it has something to do with accountability. Plus I have learnt so much about running that I might not have known – or seen the importance of (such as speed and hill work and stretching). Even in a group you need to think about lights. It was at running club that I learnt about all the different ways to make yourself seen in the dark and what I felt would work for me and what wouldn’t. When it comes to products for the dark you want something that not only makes you seen but also increases your visibility; as well as being able to rely on being lit up for the duration of your time outside. Ideally you want a product that does not affect your comfort when moving, that fits well and is practical both in terms of the weather and your needs.
UK brand Aura offer a collection of ultra-high visibility LED technology with 60 hours of (rechargeable) battery life and fabrics with weatherproof seals. Not only do their products make the wearer be noticed by others but it also increases visibility essential for making sure you keep an even footing! The products are designed to be lightweight so not to impact on comfort when moving, with an adjustable one-size fits all.
Available in the range is: The LED Heel Clip (£9.99 pair / £5.99 single) which simply clip onto the back of existing running shoes and comes with two lighting modes (continuous/flash) in red or blue. Personally I have seen this type of product fall off runners and go unnoticed so I prefer the LED Slap Band plain (£6.00) or patterned (£9.99 / £16.99 twin pack) which can be used on either the arm or the ankle (also with the two lighting modes in red or blue) and are water-resistant and the LED Running Armband, wrap-around style (£9.99 / £17.99 twin pack) with a flexible plastic design. For those on a budget there is also the LED Running Armband, flexible plastic design (£4.99). If you need to carry things there is also the LED Phone Armband (£9.99) which securely stores a smartphone (with screens up to 4.7”). Of course the main body is really important and Aura offer the Rechargeable LED Waistband (£14.99), Rechargeable LED Phone Belt (£19.99) and LED Reflective Vest (£24.99) which include zipped pockets for the likes of phones and keys.
Cycling as a New Year’s Resolution
Obviously you are going to need a bicycle AND helmet. You can then go on to buy cycling clothes and shoes. Of course again in the dark with cycling the above reflective gear will also come in handy; as well as reflective strips and lights for the bike itself. If you are going to leave your bicycle anywhere you will also need a lock to stop someone from taking it.
A really useful bike purchase is the Z Lok – this is the UK’s first securable, reusable zip style lock that neatly secures your bike to either a railing etc to keep it safe or to a car rack when being transported. You can also use them to attach your helmet to your bicycle – to save you carrying it around with you (or again risk it being taken). Of course it can also be used for other luggage, buggies and other outdoor sports equipment. It has a steel core and plastic coating (so they can be used whatever the weather) and comes with 2 x 420mm ties and a universal release key. Double side locking and a security cover. Available in a variety of colours (red/lime/grey) £14.99.
If you do get outdoors and are on Instagram I would love you to join in with the #OutdoorsandHappy community – just simply tag your pictures and follow the hashtag.
* Please note that I have previously worked with Vivobarefoot and received free trainers but this has no influence on my personal recommendation other than the fact that I have reviewed many different types of footwear and these are the ones that I feel suit me best.
I was sent sample products for purposes of this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.