Winter can be a difficult time to find the motivation to exercise. Whether you are celebrating holidays with friends and family or find it too cold to head out for a run, there are ways to stay motivated this time of year.
It is important to keep up your exercise schedule in the winter so you do not lose fitness between fall and summer.
1. Hop in the shower
If you are a morning exerciser, hop in the shower before your sweat session. It can be difficult to get out of bed when it is warm and cozy and you know it is cold and snowy outside. Heading for the shower first will help you wake up and remind you that you need to get your workout in and not go to sleep.
Lay out your clothes beforehand, so you can put them on immediately after. Do not stop to drink your coffee unless you have to. The faster you get out and go, the better.
2. Find a workout buddy
If running in the dark is your only option, find a friend or group to work out with. Many cities offer outdoor boot camps to help keep you motivated and accountable. If it is too cold to work out outside, join an indoor class.
They are boutique gyms for specific types of exercise, like spinning, heart rate training, barre classes, and yoga. Or you can join a local gym that offers classes for free. Bonus if you recruit your friends to meet you there.
3. Set up goals and then reward yourself when you meet them
If you are having trouble getting motivated to get sweaty every week, promise yourself a (non-food related) reward for working out 3-5 times a week. You can keep it small or go big.
If you are a runner or triathlete, you can set a goal race to help keep you on track. Or you can motivate yourself with spa days, mani/pedis, and new clothes or books.
4. Consider trying a new workout
If you hate the cold, maybe now is the time to explore hot yoga. If you normally run, try getting cardio on a row machine or stair climber.
Try new weight workouts or strength training exercises like resistance bands, suspension training, or lifting heavy weights. You might find a new favorite workout.
5. Keep your workouts short
If you are dreading a full hour workout, then only go for 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes are much better than nothing at all. You can try HIIT (high intensity interval training) for an effective short indoor workout.
Most HIIT sessions last no more than thirty minutes. If you need some cardio, try doing intervals on the treadmill. This can help break up the boredom of running on the treadmill and can make you a faster and more efficient runner.
While working out in the winter can be a difficult and daunting prospect, it does not have to be. Find support from others, try something new and keep going.
Remember that spring will be here soon and your body will thank you for staying consistent. You will have a head start on your summer body and feel great.