When the temperature drops, so can your motivation to get outside and get moving. So how do you resist the temptation to stay curled up under a blanket until spring arrives? According to a poll of SparkPeople.com members, 76% of exercisers have a hard time staying motivated in the winter.
I’m no exception, especially when it gets dark so early. But keeping a consistent routine helps me avoid holiday weight gain and deal with stress during this chaotic time of year.
If you are dreading the cold, you can't always blame the weather. Your attitude and approach go a long way, too. Winter doesn’t have to be a time to abandon your regular workout routine if you’ve got a good plan in place. Here's how to stay comfortable exercising outside—and adjust your plan when getting outdoors just isn’t feasible.
Winter-Proof Your Workouts for Maximum Results!
Weatherize Your Body with the Right Clothes
Outdoor exercise is no fun when your fingers and toes are freezing (or when you’re bundled up like Randy in "A Christmas Story"). Learning how to layer properly with the right kinds of clothes (breathable yet insulating) will allow you to concentrate more on your workout and less on the temperature around you. Layers + Coach Nicole’s must-have accessory for winter workouts will keep you comfy all season long.
Be Smart about Safety
Although you don’t want to use weather as an excuse not to exercise, it’s important to be smart. Completing a workout should never be a matter of life and death—no matter how committed you are. If you layer up, watch the forecast, and follow these winter workout precautions, you'll be safe during most of the season. For those times when it’s too cold to be outside, consider mixing it up with an indoor workout. Check out Coach Nancy’s cold weather exercise tips for more ideas.
Excuse-Proof Your Routine
Just because you can’t take your regular walk outside today doesn’t give you an excuse to be a couch potato. For those days when an outdoor exercise isn’t an option, have a backup plan! With the right attitude and mix of exercises, winter can actually be a fantastic time to mix up your workouts, get creative and even reignite your love of fitness by trying new, fun activities (indoors or out). If all else fails, embrace the cold instead of fighting it; some of winter's unique activities also melt mega calories.
Beat the Blues
Many people experience a case of the "winter blues" (characterized by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy) this time of year. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to both prevent the blues from coming on and get yourself back to normal if they’re already here. There are easy ways to stay healthy and happy despite the weather outside, everything from spending time outside to focusing on a healthy diet. A less-than-peppy mood may be typical in this season, but for some people, cold weather and lack of sunshine bring on more than the usual winter blahs. It can bring on a form of clinical depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you think you might have SAD, find a health professional who can help you treat it.
Instead of dreading the cold weather, consider it a time to get creative with new workouts and find different ways to challenge yourself. Use the change of seasons as a chance to change up your usual fitness routine. That way you can continue working toward your goals and seeing progress, regardless of what the thermometer reads this season!
How do you keep yourself prepared and motivated for winter workouts? What is your favorite way to stay active when it's cold outside?
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