Given the arrival of Storm Debi overnight it feels appropriate to be reporting the launch of the third year of the Sport Ireland Winter Initiative at the end of last week.

Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne launched the event in Laytown with the aim of getting as many people as possible exercising and participating in physical activity over the coming winter months.

There are over 700 events and activities planned across the country with a specific focus on encouraging people to try their hand at a new sport they may not have experienced before.

“With less daylight and harsher weather, this is a time of the year when we all need to dig a little deeper to find the motivation to exercise and to be physically active,” he said.

“For many of us at this time of the year, our bodies and minds do not get enough light and endorphins. Research suggests that winter exercise has many health and wellbeing benefits and The Winter Initiative is designed to provide both the motivation and the opportunity to get out get out exercising with family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues.”

“With a large programme of events and activities planned right across the country, I urge everyone to get active over the coming months, to generate those all-important feel-good hormones which help keep the winter blues at bay.”

Getting involved in sport, exercise and physical activity have huge benefits to individuals and communities and the Winter Initiative is designed to ensure that these can be felt by as many people as possible. Local clubs and groups are also encouraged to post and advertise their events and activities online to spread the word about the Winter Initiative and encourage new people to try out different sports which they may have felt were outside their comfort zone before now.

“Sport Ireland welcomes the launch of the latest Winter Initiative and we would really encourage people to try to make sport and physical activity a part of their daily routine,” added Dr Una May, Sport Ireland CEO.

“National Governing Bodies of Sport and our network of Local Sports partnerships will be hosting events all over the country and these afford everyone the opportunity to try something new or engage again with a sport that they might have drifted away from and to get healthy and get active this winter.”

A full list of all the events and activities planned all around the country that people can get involved in is available on the Sport Ireland website here.