OPINION: The nights might be getting darker earlier, but that's no excuse to put a halt to physical activity.
Part of our work at Sport Southland is about encouraging Southlanders to be more active, more often, and the change of seasons brings with it plenty of opportunities to increase those exercise levels.
Statistically, Southland adults are a reasonably active bunch, with 53 per cent meeting the recommended standards of being physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
That's above the national average of 48 per cent, but could still do with being higher.
Joining a sports club, particularly a winter code, can be a great way to ensure you maintain motivation over the colder months. Being part of a team, whether it's netball, rugby, rugby league, football, hockey, water polo or anything in between, is a great way to make sure you get out the door more regularly to take part in sport, plus it can make your sporting experience more social and more enjoyable.
It doesn't have to be a team sport - it could be something you could do as a family; join the Southland Mountain Bike Club and take part in its winter series which is open to all ages and abilities, jump on a bike at the Velodrome - Cycling Southland holds Track Start for adult beginners every Wednesday night, or you could take part in their lunch roll sessions during a lunch break; sign up for a social volleyball team or join a harriers club. The options are endless.
Sometimes, the easiest way to get more involved in physical activity is to train for an event and there are always plenty on Southland's calendar. In the coming weeks there will be the Wai Tri, Tri Riverton and the SBS Bank Gore Half Marathon, 12km and 6km events, as well as the Jennian Homes Mother's Day 5km for the Heart Foundation.
If you need any help getting started with training, ACC have an excellent - and free - online programme called ActiveSmart (see www.activesmart.co.nz) which can give you a guide.
Here at Sport Southland we also run sessions every week designed to help you increase your levels of physical activity, including low-cost Zumba, introduction to aqua jogging, pram walks and the BNZ Active Walkers KiwiSeniors walk group.
If you're exhausted just reading about the options to get active (and there are plenty more where they came from), we are always here to help. As Sarah Ulmer says - find a reason, not an excuse. If you can't find the time, make the time and if you need motivation or an idea of where to start feel free to call us.
Yvette Hodges is Sport Southland's Active Lifestyles Manager.
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