With the temperatures getting chilly, wackier weather and shorter daylight hours, it can be hard to resist the pull of the comfy couch with a cosy blanket. The Rotorua Weekender's series Winter Wellness hopes to give a bit of inspiration to lace up those sneakers, brave the cold, and get active exploring our beautiful parks and trails locally.
For the launch of this new series, Sport Bay of Plenty recreation connector Lizzy Gaston shares some of her tips and knowledge around staying active this winter.
Lizzy says the variety of places and activities across Rotorua is one of the things she loves the most about living here.
"A trip to the heated outdoor pool at Rotorua Aquatics Centre is always a nice treat, as is trying a new class at one of the many gyms around town.
"The Forest Loop trail is also a family favourite, and we're loving the newly completed sections ... If riding is not your thing, then the tree canopy in Whakarewarewa Forest provides great cover and beautiful scenery for short and long walks on a drizzly day."
She says Rotorua is also not short of gyms, and there are some fantastic group classes available out there for all ages and abilities.
"The last few years have seen some real changes in how we do, and don't, exercise thanks to Covid-19."
Lizzy says physical activity levels dropped significantly in the first year of Covid-19, with adults doing 16 per cent fewer hours.
New research from Sport NZ's Active NZ survey shows that while physical activity rates have rebounded to some degree, it isn't happening across the board, and some New Zealanders are still struggling to get back into the swing of things, she says.
The survey also shows that motivation is still proving to be a key barrier.
"With winter illnesses now circulating and the cold, wet weather upon us, it can seem even more difficult to get back to our previous activities.
"That's why it's a really good time to remind ourselves of what we enjoy about being active.
"For some people it's the challenge, for others it's the chance to spend time with family and friends and for many of us it's just about having fun."
She says Sport Bay of Plenty encourages everyone to take a step to being more active because of the physical and mental health benefits it can bring.
"It doesn't have to be elaborate or prescriptive - any movement counts."
This week: Centennial Park (formerly known as the Rotorua Tree Trust Opinion - Shauni James
Centennial Park is situated on the slopes of Tihiotonga at the southern side of the city.
It makes for a great walk, run or bike if you are up for a bit of a challenge and don't mind some potential huffing and puffing, as it features rolling land with some fairly steep areas.
The park is laced with different trails that take you around its farm setting, and you are bound to find yourself walking or running alongside sheep, who seem to be pretty used to human company.
There are a number of wooden seats around the park if you wish to take a break and enjoy the views.
The idea behind the development was to provide an area of land for people to dedicate trees for family members or local dignitaries. All available trees have now been adopted.
And with so many trees, there are some beautiful colours from their leaves to admire while adventuring around the park.
If you want to make a morning or afternoon trip with friends or family, the park includes a barbecue, toilet and picnic tables. You can also check out the Maple Grove and Peace Memorial.
I absolutely love going to this park for a run or walk, and remember when I first discovered it I spent ages exploring all the different trails.