5 ways to stay motivated during the colder months

 

It may be getting colder and darker, but moving for your physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as other times of the year – if not even more important! Today we are sharing some of our top tips for staying motivated, safe and well during the winter months.

We will also be giving you a sneak preview of some of the things we’ll be doing to stay active over at University of Bristol Sport.

 1) Exercise with friends

Getting out and moving may seem less appealing at the moment, but meeting a friend will make sure you stick to your plans and boost motivation for your workout too. It’s a great excuse to temporarily escape those Christmas family commitments and boost endorphins in the process.

Making plans with others can also make you more adventurous and can give you the confidence to try new things and push yourself further.

Winter bucket-list: Why not suggest a wintery walk or festive fitness class to try with a friend.

 2) Layer up to stay warm

Exercising outside can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and will give you that all important variation to your workout. However, keeping warm whilst outside is key to making sure your workout is both safe and enjoyable.

Layers are really important, use the rule of three here; base layer, middle layer and top layer. The base layer will be key to keeping warmer for longer, it should fit snug to your body but still be breathable. The middle layer is the insulator and will work with the base layer to keep you snug, a light fleece is perfect. A top layer is there to keep you protected from wind and rain and remember; brighter the top layer, the safer you’ll be on darker evenings.

Winter bucket-list: Get layered up and find an outdoor boot camp or class to get the benefit of that fresh winter air.

An image of Clifton Suspension Bridge

3) Mix it up

It’s important to recognise when you’re stuck in a rut and to know when to mix it up. Trying something new, whether that’s a new activity or a new place to exercise or a new sport; making small changes can make a big difference.

Winter bucketlist: Try at least 3 new classes throughout December, this will give you a chance to find a new addition to your routine before the new year!

Image of a woman in a seated yoga pose with palms touching

4) Workout from home

It can be a very busy time of year for those who celebrate Christmas. If your day-to-day is starting to look a little different but you still want to fit active time into your day, home workouts can be a really convenient option. Don’t worry if you don’t have any home equipment, many workouts using just your body weight can be just as challenging and enjoyable, or you can use household items like a kitchen chair or even books!

Winter bucketlist: Join one of the @bristoluniactive live-streamed classes and try something new from the comfort of your own home.

5) Be kind to yourself

Our routines can look different at this time of year and that is okay. Whether you train for performance, to improve particular skills or just to feel good, take some time this season to rest and recover too. Whilst the festive season can be exciting and fun, it can also be overwhelming and stressful too. If you do need some additional support this winter, you can contact the university’s wellbeing team

Some other things on our team’s winter bucket list…

  • To go ice skating and try and stay on two feet for more than 5 minutes..
  • A long winter walk at Ashton Court followed by a hot chocolate
  • A 10km Christmas Eve run to blow off some steam!
  • To take some old friends climbing for a Christmas catch-up (followed by some mulled wine)
  • To practice 10 minutes of yoga every day during December

Keep an eye out for our Winter Warmer offer starting 11 December which offers anytime access to the gym, swimming pool and classes for just £20 for two weeks! Available to buy online from 11 December. Last use date 22 January 2022. 

An interview with ManSquared

This week we caught up with the team behind ManSquared, a project developing mental fitness tools to help facilitate open and vulnerable conversations between men.

A group photo of Finn, Anna, Rachel and Jamie sat on a wall
Left to right: Finn Higgins, Anna Parker, Rachel Lee and Jamie Thomson

Hello! Why don’t you introduce yourself?

We’re a group of four University of Bristol students all studying innovation, passionate about male mental fitness having seen the impact it has had on ourselves, our friends, families and communities.
Anna is a wild swimmer, keen rugby player and studies psychology.
Finn is a history student who loves football and the outdoors.
Jamie can’t get enough of his electronic music and loves spending time on his bike.
Rachel is captain of the Bristol Jets Pom team and enjoys being creative in her free time.

Can you tell us a bit more about the project?
Throughout our third-year innovation studies, we formed a group based around solving the issue of poor male mental health. This issue is prevalent in Bristol, with fellow students struggling with mental health issues and finding it hard to start the conversation about their wellbeing.

29% of students experience mental health disorders at some point in their degree and COVID-19 massively exacerbated this issue. As a team we researched existing organisations, tools and groups and try to find out what has been effective in improving men’s mental fitness.

We use the term mental fitness as keeping your brain and emotional health in shape is as important as any other muscle. We gained a lot of insight from TalkClub: a men’s fitness charity that helps men to open up and build their mental fitness by simply asking “How are you out of 10?”. Their founder Ben provided us with support and guidance on how to form an organisation within Bristol and how to ask the right questions.

Our mission is to create a world where men talk openly with each other before they reach a point of crisis by using our facilitation tools. We aim to act as a preventative solution which addresses issues before they get really serious.

What’s the story behind the name?
The idea behind the name is about a ‘Man to Man’ connection. WE BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF A SIMPLE EQUATION, (MAN) X (MAN), TO SOLVE A WICKED PROBLEM. WE ARE SQUARING UP TO OPENING UP, WE ARE MANSQUARED.

I’ve spotted some pretty cool cups in Harry’s Bar at Coombe Dingle, what’s their purpose?
The aim for the cups is to get men to speak more openly about their mental health and emotions as this is traditionally a topic that they sweep under the rug. We want to change this. The idea is for students to work through the questions on the cup at a time they see fit. If not, we hope that the cups will still spread awareness!

The QR code also takes you to a Linktree with easily accessible mental fitness resources in Bristol. There are talking groups to join and social media accounts to follow. We hope that people start a conversation on and off the pitch and share the cups with their friends and family.

What links would you like to share to our readers that are looking for support right now?

Talk Club: wetalkclub.com/
Bristol based male talking group

Dudes and Dogs: facebook.com/DudesnDogs/
Nationwide male dog walking group

What does the future of ManSquared look like?
At the moment the project is somewhat ‘on hold’ as we are focusing on our final year of studies at the University. We are assessing how this ‘trial’ run at the University of Bristol goes and on completion of our studies we may try to expand to other universities to keep the conversations going. Our email inboxes are very much open though for anyone who wants to reach out or just have a chat.

 

What does it mean to be a man? ManSquared aim to prompt open conversation.
The cups that you can now spot at Harry’s Bar @ Coombe Dingle

 

7 ways University of Bristol Sport can help build your CV

 

 

Did you know that getting involved with sport and physical activity at university will give you valuable work place skills?

It may sound far-fetched but extra-curricular activities will show employers that you have more strings to your bow and will give you plenty to talk about in those all-important interviews.

You can demonstrate your skill set  

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What is B:Active and why should you get involved?

Welcome to B:Active, an inclusive activity programme designed for student life – from social sports to fitness classes, the aim is to make it as easy, fun and affordable as possible to get moving and look after your mental and physical wellbeing. But why is B:Active so great?

Location, location, location!

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Why joining a sports club will be one of the best things you’ll do at university

There is a lot going on during your first few weeks of university so don’t worry if you didn’t feel ready to sign up to any clubs or societies just yet – there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved this year. All student clubs run a little differently, however most welcome all abilities and may offer Performance teams that focus on competing, as well as social sessions for those just wanting to play for fun.

In this blog post we’ll be looking at some of the reasons joining a sports club can enhance your university experience!

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8 Reasons to join a class

Did you know that there are over 80 classes a week at the Indoor Sports Centre? With classes from Body Combat to Yoga fit to Spin, there is something to suit everybody and any level. Today we will be taking a look at  reasons why joining a fitness class can be a fantastic addition to your active life. Most of our fitness classes operate from the Indoor Sports Centre on Tyndall Avenue and are included in the Active Memberships. Our B:Active programme also runs its own series of low-cost and free classes on Campus and in the Residences, you can check out both timetables on our website.

1. It’s a great way to make connections

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Bristol Active Bucketlist

It’s that time again where we begin to welcome new and returning back to Bristol! In this post, we are sharing some Bristol-based activities that we think deserve a spot on your active bucket list. If you do try any of our suggestions, let us know, we’d love to see your paddle boarding pictures or your new favorite trail. 

Run the downs

Clifton Downs is a running hot spot. With great routes and amazing views over the Avon Gorge, it’s the perfect place to clock up some miles and explore a bit of Bristol whilst you are at it. New to Bristol? The Welcome Fair will be an opportunity to get to know this iconic Bristol location. Keep an eye on our social media for the launch of the 2022 Bristol Run Series if your keen to set some running goals and join our community.

Visit the Wave

Bristol may not be known for being a surfer’s paradise, but it doesn’t mean you can’t catch some waves.  Just a 20-minute drive out of Bristol City Centre, this inland surfing pool offers a range of sessions, whether you are a surfing pro and just want to get out there or if you are a complete beginner. Surfing your thing? Make sure you check out the University of Bristol Surf Society for surf gear access, socials and weekends away. Surf @ Bristol SU

Get climbing

Bristol students love to climb and luckily there’s plenty of climbing centers  around the city where you can reach some new heights. Climbing is not only great for strengthening, it’s also an effective form of cardio and has several psychological and personal benefits from improved goal setting to increased self-confidence.

Cycle to Bath

If you’ve bought your bike to university (wise choice!) then you must cycle the famous Bristol to Bath Railway Path, a 13-mile off-road route suitable for cyclists and walkers.  It might be a little longer than the 20-minute train ride, but you will spot plenty of wildlife and work up a sweat. Just make sure you stop for tea and cake in beautiful Bath!

Watch a game

You don’t have to go very far to catch a match! On Wednesday nights you’ll be able to watch our #WeAreBristol student clubs compete at our Coombe Dingle Sports Facility. Our Pavilion will be serving food and the bar will be open too for the complete game-day experience. If you’d rather be on the pitch, there will be opportunities at the start of term to ‘Give It a Go’ and trial a range of sports clubs and activities for free What’s On & Events @ Bristol SU

Get paddling

Bristol is famous for it’s picturesque and lively harbourside, but you don’t just have to explore it by foot. Recent years have seen more and more people opting to paddleboard their way along the harbour. Stand Up Paddleboard Bristol offer a Paddleboard Harbourside tour suitable for complete beginners and provide all the kit and instruction you’ll need for a safe and enjoyable paddle.

Climb lots and lots of hills

This is an easy one, you won’t get very far in Bristol without going upwards at some point. It may be steep but you’ll thank all the inclines later. Walking uphill can boost your respiratory and lung function as well as strengthening your circulatory system, not to mention a huge endorphin rush!

Walk and explore

The best way to get to know a new city is to get out and explore. Grab your flatmates, some comfy shoes and a bottle of water and find your new favourite spot whilst getting active too. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can improve your overall health and boost mental well-being. If you like a bit of structure to your walk, check out one of Bristol’s many walking tours and learn about everything Bristol, from Banksy to Blackbeard. Our B:Active Residence programme even offers a walking tour for free – keep an eye out on their social media @bristolunibactive to find out more!

Try a water sport

There may be a few water-based activities on our list but sometimes sport is just that little bit more exciting off dry-land. University of Bristol Sailing are one of our clubs offering social sessions as a chance to learn to sail in a fun and friendly way, with taster sessions happening throughout October as part of ‘Give it a Go’. The University of Bristol Sport app is a great way to find out more about our clubs and find out all you need to know about trial sessions, memberships and more!

Join the Colour Run

Every year in September, University of Bristol Sport and Bristol SU host a 3k, very fun and equally as messy, Colour Run. This year is no different and will be held on 26 September at the Coombe Dingle. It’s a chance to run, walk or skip around the course whilst getting covered in colourful paint (we can guarantee great photos!). Tickets are available to book now! Bristol SU Beta

 

 

Free ways to have an active life in Bristol

 

Being on a University budget shouldn’t stop you from living a healthy, active life. In this post we will be looking at some free-of-charge opportunities to exercise your body and boost your mood, available both within the university and the wider community!

1) Swap treadmills for pavements.

Up your step count, improve your wellbeing and explore some of Bristol’s beautiful walks. Local walking/running spots include Harborside, Leigh Woods, Ashton court and the stretch between your front door and the supermarket! It doesn’t need to be a marathon,  just make sure you stay safe, wear reflective clothing where possible and know your route. The Bristol Run Series happens annually and is a great opportunity to train with an aim!

2) Book a B:Active class

Did you know that many of our fitness classes that are part of our B:Active Residence programme are free of charge for those living in University-allocated accommodation? You can try yoga, conditioning, pilates and more without making a dent in your budget. It’s also a great way to meet other students in your accommodation outside of your flat.

 

3) Give it a Go

During Welcome Week you’ll have the opportunity to try out a huge range of sport and fitness society sessions for free. This will give you the chance to meet new people and try some new things without having to commit to a membership first. These sessions are run with Bristol SU so keep an eye on their socials and website for more details.

4) Attend our Giant Fitness Class

This September we are giving you the chance to try out three of our most popular classes for free at our Giant Fitness Class. This will be a 90 minute session, made up of 3 classes held at the Indoor Sports Centre, no booking required. You can find out more here…
https://bit.ly/3yNWWeO

couple doing press-ups

5) Get out and about

Bristol is definitely not short of green spaces, many sporting free courts and even outdoor gyms. Brandon Hill Park is a great example – it’s a workout getting there in the first place!

 

6) Be app-y 

This year, many of our Run Series Members have inspired us by opting to walk/run with the help of podcasts and apps. From one that makes you feel like you are running away from a Zombie to Sarah Millican trying to get you off your couch, it’s one way to spruce up a run for free

7) Keep it green

If you are keen to get working out from home but don’t have the equipment, there are plenty of ways to use things around your house (full wine bottles are great as weights!)  or even using sites such as Freecycle to get hold of the right kit without making a dent.

8) Get online

The University of Bristol App is the home of 50+ On Demand workouts, ready whenever you are. Home workouts are great for when you’re on a tight schedule, studying from home or even if you just aren’t ready yet to return to our facilities.

9) Follow @Bristoluniactive on Instagram

Here you’ll find loads of active inspiration, tips, updates and even live -streamed fitness classes – it’s really as easy as that! B:Active is the perfect access point for students who are looking to get moving and connect with our community.

10) Stay connected

We will always keep you updated on all opportunities and flag up those that don’t require membership or cost. Make sure you are following us on our social medias, check in on our website or pop in a say hello to our team at the welcome desks at our facilities

 

10 things you can do with University of Bristol Sport that aren’t sport

Despite our name, we are not here to just support students and staff in pursuing competitive sport. In fact, we offer a huge range of activities, events, classes and opportunities for all of our community. Keeping active plays a key part in helping you maintain a healthy, happy life at university and there are more ways than you might think to get involved! In this blog post we’ll be sharing some of these.

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