Staying motivated to exercise can be a challenge year-round, but it can be especially difficult during the winter months. There are a variety of reasons why it can be hard to stay motivated to exercise in the winter, including colder weather, shorter days, and holiday distractions.
However, staying active during the winter months is important for both physical and mental health. To help you out, we have compiled some handy tips on how to keep yourself moving in winter.
Find others to workout with
Finding a workout buddy or group can be a great way to stay motivated to exercise in the winter months.Having someone to exercise with can provide accountability and help you stay on track with your fitness goals.
Turning exercise into a social experience can also make it more enjoyable, rather than it feeling like a chore. Research has shown that exercising together increases desire to workout by 56% and that people who exercise as part of a group tend to maintain higher overall levels of physical fitness.
Need some tips on how you can find a workout buddy (or two)? Join a club or fitness group, or post on your local community channels (Facebook etc) to see if anyone wants to join you in the activity you'd like to do. It can also help to set up a fixed day every week where you meet up with your friends to do a pre-planned activity.
Mix up your routine
When you do the same workout every day, it can become monotonous and it can be easy to lose interest. By trying new activities or switching up your routine, you can keep things interesting and keep your body guessing. This can help you stay engaged in your fitness routine and avoid feeling like your workouts are a chore.
Mixing things up can also help prevent burnout and overuse injuries by giving your body a break from the same movements and stressors. You might also discover new forms of exercise that you enjoy and that may be more effective at helping you reach your fitness goals.
If you normally go for a run outside, try indoor activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga. Or, if you usually hit the gym, try taking your workout outside and going for a hike or a snowshoeing adventure.
When you have a specific goal in mind, it can give you something to work towards and help you stay focused.
Setting goals can also help you track your progress and see the results of your hard work. When you see the progress you've made towards your goal, it can provide motivation to keep going.
Get the right gear
Investing in warm, weather-appropriate workout clothing can make a big difference in your comfort level when exercising outside in the cold.
Layering is key – start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a mid-layer for insulation, and top it off with a waterproof outer layer.
Don't forget a warm hat, gloves, and socks! Having the right gear can help you stay warm and comfortable during your workout, which can make it more enjoyable and help you stay motivated.
Find an indoor option
If the cold weather is just too much to bear, finding an indoor option for exercise can be a great way to stay active during the winter months. Many gyms and studios offer virtual classes or have reduced capacity to allow for social distancing, which can be a convenient and safe way to stay active.
Indoor options such as cycling studios, yoga studios, or even home workout videos can provide a variety of workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home.
In addition to providing a convenient and safe way to stay active, indoor options can also offer a sense of structure and routine. When you have a specific class or workout to attend, it can be easier to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.
If you need some indoor workout ideas, check out our free Simba app for our curated list of exercise videos that you can do in the comfort of your home!
Don't forget to warm up
It's important to warm up before any workout, but it's especially crucial in cold weather. This is as your muscles may be tighter and your body may be less warm than it would be in warmer temperatures.
A warm up helps to gradually increase your heart rate, blood flow, and body temperature, which can help you perform your workout more effectively and reduce the risk of injury.
There are a variety of ways to warm up, including stretching, dynamic movements, and light cardio. Stretching can help loosen tight muscles and improve range of motion, while dynamic movements such as leg swings and arm circles can help get your muscles moving and prepare your body for the workout. Light cardio such as walking or jogging can also help warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up.
Listen to your body
Listening to your body is an important part of any fitness routine, but make sure you do it in the winter months when cold temperatures and busy schedules can take a toll on your body.
If you're feeling sick or have any aches or pains, it's important to take a break from exercise. Pushing yourself too hard when you're not feeling your best can increase the risk of injury and may even make you feel worse in the long run.
By listening to your body, you can help ensure that you're exercising safely and effectively. This can include paying attention to your energy levels and adjusting your workout intensity accordingly, as well as listening to your body's physical cues such as muscle soreness or fatigue.
When you have something to look forward to, it can be easier to stay engaged and motivated in your fitness routine.
There are a variety of ways to reward yourself for achieving your fitness goals. It could be something small and simple, such as indulging in a cup of hot chocolate after a workout, or something more significant, such as buying yourself a new piece of workout gear or treating yourself to a spa day.
The key is to find something that is meaningful and motivating to you.