Keeping up the motivation to exercise when temperatures are dropping and the mornings and afternoons are dark can be difficult. The blood slows and our toes are froze, it’s no wonder we want to forsake all thought of exercise and curl up under a warm blanket and sleep. Who wants to go for a run anyway?!
Awake, o sleeper, awake! This is the time to get your rear in gear! Don’t lose motivation or your focus over the cold weather months. These can be some of the best exercise days of your lives.
Just exactly what are the benefits to exercising during the wintertime, you ask?
For one thing, there’s no hot weather to make you sweat profusely (though if you’re working out hard you may anyway). And though your blood is cooling off, exercising in the cold actually makes your body work harder, so you’ll burn more calories than during the summertime.
Plus, if you’re moving it you’re going to lose it – pounds that is. It’s hard to put on extra Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner weight while briskly walking.
And you know how people tend to get more run down and sick in the wintertime? Exercise will actually boost your immune system, because you’re improving your cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation!
Not convinced yet? How about avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as The Winter Blues. Exercise can help, fresh air is even better!
While that all may sound really, REALLY good, just exactly what is the HOW of staying motivated to exercise? These are a few tips I’ve had to learn the hard way (by not doing them):
Buddy up, don’t go it alone
Get an exercise buddy! A friend, co-worker, spouse or even just an online friend who wants to exercise. Accountability is the fire behind staying on top and not slipping off.
Over the summer I ran with a friend who helped me to reach my goal of a 5k in November. Now our running group of two has grown and we’re continuing to run over the winter days (when it’s not too icy). It’s hard to put people off when they’re standing outside in the cold waiting for you!
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to keep you going, too. You’re a lot less likely to take as many breaks or slow down when the person working out next to you (or even via FaceTime!) isn’t stopping either.
Find that person or those people who you can connect with on a regular basis, encourage and yes, sometimes force, to get moving. Make it someone you have a common goal with, such as maintaining good health, or a certain distance achieved, or an amount of weight to lose/maintain, someone who also has young children, whatever it may be. Just get an exercise buddy!
Don’t give in to the holiday laziness
My husband and I just started doing a workout program challenge with a group of people on Facebook that takes us through the holidays. It’s 5 days a week, 25 minutes a day of really hard work. And while I want to moan and groan about not being able to “rest” over the up-coming holidays, I know the benefits of staying focused and exercising daily help will combat the temptation to give in to all those Christmas cookies.
Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to quit exercising (or not exercise at all). Commit to staying moving and you won’t regret it!
Find what works for you
The same exercise program doesn’t work for everyone. Some people love running, others prefer cycling. Some people love cardio, others prefer weight lifting and circuits. The beauty of winter exercise is that there are a wide range of options to choose from!
You can go outdoors and enjoy everything from walking to skating to skiing, or stay indoors on an elliptical and use workout videos and weights. It’s better if you can take a well-rounded approach to exercise and incorporate a little bit of everything, but at least you have options!
Change how you view exercise
Exercise is not optional. Our bodies need to be moving and grooving, not stationary. Especially not for long periods of time, as some winters may last a really looooong time. The cold weather isn’t going anywhere, but it’s time you did!
Don’t think of exercise as boring, and if it is, maybe you need to change the way you’re doing it! Switch it up and try a new sport or workout program, or buy something pretty to workout in (because if we’re feeling good in it, then we’re more likely to wear it and use it, am I right?).
Don’t think of exercise as just hard work, but as conditioning your body to work faster, stronger, higher, and greatly improve your health. Your family will thank you.
How do you stay motivated to workout during the cold months? What are some of your favourite ways to exercise in winter?