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Let's Go Outside by Susannah Taylor

Susannah Taylor urges us to go outside and exercise, whatever the weather...

As the leaves turn from yellow to red and then brown, as the sunlight hours shorten and the cold wind starts to bite, we are understandably drawn to staying indoors. Just like the hedgehogs taking refuge under their leafy blankets, Autumn invokes a desire to hunker down, curl up, and hibernate. And there’s never a better time, especially when the world feels like it’s cracking up, to practise Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo gah’), the Danish term which is all about creating a cosy environment as an act of self-care. Whatever name you want to put to it, you may well practise it anyway.  I for one, love nothing more on a weekend than making my sitting room a haven of relaxation with a roaring fire, lots to read and cushions galore. I don’t have the time to lounge about in there all day but even sneaking in 20 minutes here or there feels heavenly. 

There is something brilliantly life-affirming about getting outside whatever the weather, which also makes coming back inside all the more cocooning

Whilst we naturally tend to focus on being inside in Winter months, there is also something brilliantly life-affirming about getting outside whatever the weather, which also makes coming back inside all the more cocooning . Personally, I’ll take a walk or run outside over pounding on a treadmill in a sweaty gym any day of the year, come rain, wind or shine, and have been known to head out on a run even when it’s snowing. Whilst I love the sound of the rain beating against the window whilst feeling snug inside, an equally favourite thing to do when it rains, is to get outside in it.  

I vividly remember one day two years ago in lockdown when it hadn’t stopped chucking it down all day. At an attempt to keep the teens off their phones I declared ‘Who’s coming out for a run?’  Everyone declined except my son Oscar. Outside, the rain was gushing down the road in torrents and the puddles poured in over our trainers. Great droplets of rain dripped of our noses and into our eyes as we ran (sometimes walked,) laughing our heads off as we got soaked to the bone. Arriving home with mud splattered faces, wringing out our clothes, we felt truly alive, and nothing felt as good as warming up afterwards, cheeks aglow, feeling somewhat smug.

The combination of movement and being out in nature, no matter the weather, is a better tonic than any vitamin you can buy off a pharmacy shelf. You only need to ask all the cold water swimmers out there jumping regularly into freezing seas and lakes what they love about it and they’ll tell you that it makes them feel alive.  There is something about being outside in a rainstorm, on a blustery walk or on an icy morning that connects us deeply to the world. No wonder doctors in Scotland have been prescribing ‘getting out in nature’ as medicine.

More than just a mood booster, there is also science behind the health benefits of  being out in the great outdoors.  The daylight means you are getting your dose of vitamin D which is vital for bone health, immune health, and mental health, and experts often say we should get outside in the mornings when the light is at its strongest  - something particularly important for anyone suffering from SAD syndrome. Movement also ensures your lymphatic system is kept moving, which immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi tells me is vital for keeping our lymph pumping round our bodies. Unlike our blood system, our lymph -  which is crammed with infection and disease fighting white blood cells - doesn’t move unless we do. 


Central image - Chloe Pilates' wonderful Cotswolds pilates & wild swim classes - see more and follow Chloe at @chloespilates.

As explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes once quite rightly said  ‘There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing,’ and thanks to highly technical, weather-proof, sweat wicking, ultra lightweight activewear, there is zero excuse not to get out in it.  Here are my favourite tried and tested buys for braving the elements in style and maximum comfort... 

Brave the elements in style:


The Wylding boiler suit

A super stylish, loose fitting, thermal lined, waterproof jumpsuit that you can throw on and zip up post cold water swim. Best worn with the least amount of clothing underneath. £160



The Weather Jacket

Made with super hi-tech Japanese fabrics, the Weather Jacket from On is featherweight,  waterproof and windproof. It also allows the body to breathe so you won’t overheat unlike running jackets of old. £190


The Snug Bud

Weather you spend your Saturdays on a rugby touch line, work outdoors or feel the cold more than others, the Snug bud  - a wearable, neoprene covered hot water bottle will be your new BFF this winter. £59.95


Thermal jeans

Thankfully, wide leg waterproof trousers can now be a thing of the past. Enter the Thermal Skinny Outdoor Trousers from Acai Outdoorwear which fit like a glove, stretch, and are warm and shower resistant. £99


The L’Hood

The hands-free alternative to the umbrella, this very clever new waterproof hat rolls up small (it can snap round your wrist) but opens out into a super stylish bonnet that will keep your hair and collar dry. I love dark orange and periwinkle Blue. £49.99


The Changing Cape

One of the biggest conundrums with cold water swimming is how and where to change. But thanks to the Cape Cove Reversible Shell Changing Cape, overexposing yourself is a thing of the past. With a waterproof outer layer and Sherpa lining there is tones of room to move without compromising your dignity. £269

The combination of movement and being out in nature, no matter the weather, is a better tonic than any vitamin you can buy off a pharmacy shelf

Susannah Taylor is a beauty and wellbeing editor, having worked at Vogue, You magazine, and now the Telegraph. She also founded the website You can follow her @susannahtaylor_ and look out for news on Susannah’s newsletter coming in January 2023.