There’s not a single person reading this who hasn’t lost motivation during the winter months. It’s hard work to get out of bed when it’s cold, damp and dark. Yet, sticking to your exercise regime is even more important during winter than in summer: we eat more in the winter. Though different studies argue whether our winter eating habits are due to holidays, opportunity, or biology, one thing is indisputable: we need to stay motivated to exercise in order to stay in shape.
Here are 10 tips to stay motivated during the winter months:
- Wear something warm
Treat yourself to a couple of sweats that will battle the winter’s icy grip and encourage you to brave the cold wind. Runners should also wear a hat, and maybe even tights under their sweatpants. But be careful to not overheat, ensure you have layers you can remove to keep cool.
- Change the time you exercise
During the summer months it’s natural to want to exercise early morning or late evening, when the sun is at its coolest. Come the winter, try getting out in the open air during your lunch hour. You won’t be alone, and you’ll benefit from the fresh air and warmth of the sun that you simply won’t get if you stick with the old routine.
- Change it up a little
If you’re a runner, why not take your exercise indoors a little more often? Consider a little more gym work, or take up swimming every other session. Getting in the water will remind you of those summer days, and give your muscles an extra workout: you never know, you might find you’re a natural triathlete! No thanks, brrrr
- Set a target
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to have a target. That might be a set weight at the end of winter, or, better still, a goal to run a spring half marathon. Sign up now, and prepare a winter training plan to hit your target.
- Beat the winter blues with a summer beat
Just like the smell of baked bread or the sight of children playing can transport you back to your childhood, listening to the sounds of summer while you train can make you feel in that summer mood, and ready to take on the world. No more sleepy mornings or reluctant evenings: pump up the volume while you pump the iron.
- Do the gardening!
Try something different and get your garden ready to grow in spring. Leaves that need raking, wood that needs chopping and burning, and lawns that need careful tending are all features of the winter months. You don’t have to be in the gym to get a workout: : raking is hard work, and a perfect winter workout.
- Think of the future
Winter isn’t forever. Before you know it, the summer will be here and you’ll be on the beach, swimming or surfing. Avoid the traditional rush of ‘swimsuit body season’ and focus on getting ready early. Staying fit during the winter has a massive pay-off in the spring and summer: you’ll avoid the madness of the crash diet and your body will respect you right back.
- Buddy up
Take a workout partner, and benefit from the dual emotions of encouragement and guilt. Your partner will encourage you to get out and work through any period of demotivation, and you can reciprocate in kind. Meanwhile, you’ll both feel guilty if you let the other down (and don’t be tempted to be the first to say, “Shall we give it a miss today?”).
- Sign up for a winter boot camp
A boot camp is a great way to augment your current regime, and in the winter a boot camp could help you to get into a routine and stick with it. You’ll be missed if you don’t turn up, and being in a group will encourage you to maintain your rhythm.
- Go to bed prepared for the morning workout
Getting out of bed and getting dressed to exercise is one of the most challenging things about winter. Here’s an idea that’s a little off the wall: go to bed dressed for your morning exercise already. When the alarm wakes you, there won’t be any chill to tackle as you dress – simply step out, wash, and workout!