Even the most dedicated exercise enthusiast can have a hard time in winter. Cold days and long nights make it hard to get out of bed, let alone get the body moving, but there are simple ways to get motivated when the weather outside is frightful.
The season can indeed be very disruptive to people’s exercise routines, said Jack Raglin, an exercise psychologist and professor at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.
The goal is to remove as many obstacles as possible and make small changes that can make staying active easier until spring returns. At this time of year, exercise can also help to cope with seasonal depression.
Here are 10 tips on how to motivate yourself to stay active when the weather gets colder:
1. Seek out an exercise partner or group
When exercising alone, there is only one person you have to convince to skip a session. But by exercising with a partner or group, there’s some social pressure:
“I have to show up because they’re there, waiting for me.”
Exercise partners can also provide social support, camaraderie and distraction from bad weather. There’s the additional benefit of making friends and hanging out with like-minded people. Even if you’re exercising at home, consider joining a live class on Zoom or on Instagram — which are great winter workout options that don’t require you to brave the cold, pandemic or not.⭐️Follow us @affinity_fit for more workout guide.
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2. Warm up your room & clothes
If the schedule calls for early workouts, program the heater in the morning to ensure a cosy atmosphere for waking up and place workout clothes near a heater so they’re nice and warm.
3. Make it a goal just to get to the gym
Just focus on getting dressed and showing up. Then, it’s OK to do an abbreviated workout or leave after a few minutes. (Most people don’t.)
“Once you’re there, the problem is solved. You’re kind of committed to it,” Raglin said. “Once you’ve changed into your gear, once you’ve made the initial step, the rest of it is a lot easier.”
4. Exercise during your lunch break
Many people get frustrated when it’s dark in the morning and dark when they come home from work. The solution is to work out in the middle of the day, during the peak light hours.
If the weather is tolerable, take a long, brisk walk during lunch hour — this provides the added benefit of fresh air and a bit of nature. If there’s too much snow in the way, head to a nearby mall or shopping centre for an indoor stroll.
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5. Focus on the mental health benefits
Many people who start exercising get frustrated when they don’t lose weight or feel fit right away. But those benefits take a while to show up, Raglin noted.
The mental health benefits, on the other hand, happen almost immediately. People feel better, less stressed and more relaxed, which may be especially important during the hectic holiday season and a time when many suffer from the seasonal affective disorder.
“Feel good about feeling good,” he said, “and feel good about doing something for yourself that we know has so many benefits that so many people need.”
6. Plan ahead and anticipate
For outdoor workouts, watch the weather forecast and know what you’ll be up against the next day, whether snow or a cold blast, Raglin advised. Plan the appropriate clothing by stocking up on some workout clothes for winter and have everything ready when for wake up time: gear, gym bag and snack.
“It’s like you’re being helped along, so to speak. That can make a big difference,” he said. “If you know what you’re going to have to experience or endure, it doesn’t bother you as much.”
7. Put on exercise clothes when coming home from work
This simple goal puts people on the right path without much effort, said Brandon Alderman, an exercise psychologist and associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University.
“The idea behind doing that is you’ve met your goal and it’s probably difficult to take those exercise clothes off without actually doing some form of exercise,” he said.
8. Swim in a warm pool
If exercising in the cold just isn’t something you’re willing to do, indoor swimming can be a great cardio option. Swimming is one of the best sports for long and healthy life. A warm indoor pool can be the perfect place for a workout when the weather outside doesn’t cooperate.
9. Optimize the morning alarm
Choose a song that will get out of bed and get the heart beating faster. That’s when the race begins, so don’t hit the snooze button, Raglin cautioned.
“If you’re giving yourself a couple of options to snooze, you’re done a lot of the time,” he noted, especially when your options are work out in the cold or stay warm and cosy in bed.
10. Remind yourself why it’s important in those moments when you have to climb out of a warm, cosy bed and head into the cold, it can be difficult to remember how great you will feel afterwards. “Exercising on those dark cold days will actually help boost your body’s ‘feel good’ endorphins to help blast away those winter blues,” Small says. “Exercising has been found to boost your body’s serotonin, norepinephrine and stress response to help induce a natural state of calm leading into the hectic festive period. That’s motivation enough.”
Written by A. Pawlowski from https://www.today.com/