Cold temperatures and less sunshine make exercising in the winter extremely challenging. Motivating yourself to keep fit during winter can feel like a bit of a battle….and somehow the warm bed always looks a little bit better. How can you stay inspired to exercise when it’s cold outside? Read below for my tips to help you stay fit all winter
Caroline’s Winter Motivation Secrets:
- Set A Goal. Prepare for the winter woes by setting a few fitness goals. Whether it’s to lose weight, run a race, lift a certain amount of weight, or swim a set distance – having something to work for will become a great motivator. Studies on personal achievement have shown that you’ll usually reach 80% of the goals you put onto paper. Tell your friends and family of your goal and have them keep you accountable in your quest to be healthier.
- Get Competitive. Healthy competition can make you a stronger, more competent athlete. Make bets, sign up for weekly races with friends, or participate in training events sponsored by local athletic clubs. Engaging in friendly rivalries puts you in charge of your performance and helps foster a sense of community with other athletes. And who knows…. Maybe you’ll end up winning some neat prizes!
- Find a Friend. Recruit a friend for your sweat sessions and you are more likely to stay accountable for your workouts. Working out with a friend will help keep you consistent in your fitness and more likely to challenge yourself with new routines or higher levels of intensity. Fitness friends are like having a personal cheering squad; you’ll feel good about what you have accomplished and have more fun while you are at it.
- Schedule and Stick to it. Plan workouts in advance – before the weather catches you unprepared and causes you to miss it. Anticipate the weather forecast and plan for activities that won’t be interrupted by seasonal elements. Write down all your workout appointments and use a calendar, planner, or even set a text message reminder to keep you on track. When your workout date is in clear view you wont be able to forget it. Simple time management skills will make it much easier to stick to your fitness without giving into excuses.
- Use an online program to help chart your fitness and keep you on track like nikerunning.com or fitocracy.com.
- Try a routine that’s simple and easy to start—like jogging from right outside your apartment or doing a straightforward routine at a gym that’s very close by. That way, you’ll have fewer excuses for not getting started.
- Motivate yourself with a wardrobe you love. Sure its superficial, but honestly I love fashion and if it gets you going then whats the problem? Use your favorite holiday dress, pair of skinny jeans, or suit to remind you why all those burpees and squat hops are worth it.
- Power Up Your Playlists. Nothing is more motivating than new MUSIC to move to. With services like spotify, pandora, and songza it’s easier than ever to find playlists to power up your workouts. Look for songs with upbeat tempos, strong beats, and positive lyrics. It’s hard not to move with your favorite jams blasting out of your earphones! Start by subscribing to one of my spotify playlists here, I’ve got many motivating tunes to move to!
- Focus on FEELING Good. If you feel like you “have to” fit exercise into your day, you are much less likely to WANT to do it. Instead, shift your focus to how fitness makes you FEEL versus considering it a “requirement”. Take note of your energy and stress levels after every exercise session. When you are tempted to ditch your daily fitness, remember how you feel when your workout is over. Simply recalling the positive emotions exercise gives you will keep you motivated move more.
- Try Something New. Take a fitness class or participate in a community active event different from your regular routine. From Latin dance classes to group rowing, there are always new ways to challenge your body. Use yelp to search the local gym, studio, and group sport activities in your area.
- Think Positive. If you think you’re lagging behind or doing a “bad job” with your fitness, you’ll find it much more tempting to throw in the towel and quit. Self doubt and negative thinking are huge obstacles to winter motivation. You can read all about this in my “get rid of workout guilt” post. It’s important to focus on the POSITIVE. Be proud of all your athletic accomplishments and acknowledge yourself after every workout.
Cold Weather Workout Musts:
Now that you’re revved up and ready to go, there are a few things you should do before exercising in the cold. Take these things into consideration before you step into the chilly winter season.
- Bundle UP. Dress for your outdoor workouts in layers that can be easily removed once you start to sweat. Choose synthetic materials and breathable clothes that can help keep you warm while drawing sweat away from your body. Your outer layer should repel wind and precipitation and the inner layers should provide additional warmth. Add jackets, hats and gloves/mittens that can be removed or added as your body heats up or weather conditions change. A thermal turtleneck can be pulled up over the mouth to warm the air you breathe. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Several thin layers are warmer than one heavy layer, keep a supply of clothes ready to pack on and you’ll be ready to go!
- WARM up. Extend the length of your usual warm up when exercising in cold weather. Spend at least 5-10 minutes preparing the body for exercise with lower intensity movement. This will help prevent injury and prepare your body properly for a great workout.
- Drink Up! Even when it’s cold, you’ll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout.
- Don’t Stay in Wet Clothes. When you are wet from rain, snow, or sweat you’re at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. Immediately after your workout, hit the showers and change clothes to avoid marinating in your own sweat and getting sick.
Staying motivated to exercise can be difficult all year round, but staying on track with an exercise regimen when it’s dark and cold outside can be a real battle. Take a moment and think of at least 5 ways you can BEAT the winter slump and AMP up your fitness. What are your obstacles to winter wellness? How can you improve your weekly habits to keep your motivation going? What will you need in order to succeed this winter? Warm Gloves? Lululemon run vest? Awesome playlist or fitness class? Plan ahead and prepare to take on the winter season strong. I challenge YOU to try new things, take chances, and feel your best come spring.
Foot And Ankle Workout Program.
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