How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise in Winter
As the winter season is fast approaching, people find themselves losing motivation to engage in physical activities. The lack of sunlight and the cold breeze make us want to cozy up in our homes and forget about maintaining the summer body we always desired.
It is always tempting to just snuggle and cozy up in front of the fire and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Often, it feels so difficult to drag yourself out of bed and exercise. Let us admit it, it is hard to deny the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can impact your exercise routine.
However, fitness experts agree that the cold temperature should not be a reason to stop your exercise goals and habits altogether.
Here, we rounded up several winter exercise and workout motivation tips from fitness gurus.
- Keep Yourself Warm
Perform a few stretches to raise your internal body heat before you start your at-home or outdoor winter exercise. This helps loosen your tense muscles, condition your mindset, and fire up your body temperature to prepare your body for the cold winter elements.
- Wear the Right Winter Exercise Clothing
If you are planning to workout outdoors, make sure to invest in high quality winter activewear, such as thermal clothing, gloves, puffer jackets and vests, headband, and active joggers to make your outdoor winter workout more comfortable and minimize the risk of catching a chill. Even if you are not training outside, investing in new workout gear can get you motivated.
- Know the Best Time of the Day to Exercise
Maintain a consistent time for your exercise day and make sure it works with your schedule. If you prefer working out early in the morning, prepare your workout wear the night before. If you like to exercise during your lunch break, pack a healthy lunch so you would not feel grouchy after the workout from lack of food.
- Buddy Up
Keeping yourself motivated through the cold winter months can be quite tough. However, you can recruit a friend or a family member to work out with you. Having a workout buddy can make your exercise routine a little more enjoyable and sociable. You do not have to go to the gym every day. You can have someone to go outdoors for a run or stay at home and get on the treadmill or the elliptical machine. Also, it makes cancelling your workout plans much more difficult.
- Remind Yourself Why It is Important
Many people may not realize that exercising in winter can stimulate the brain to generate more ‘feel good’ hormones to blast away the winter blues. Numerous studies claim that working out in winter helps increase the body’s level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and stress, promoting a natural state of calm leading into the busy holiday season.
- Turn Your Errands into Workouts
It may sound too simple to be true, but non-exercise activities, such as vacuuming and shovelling the snow can burn significantly more calories each week than clocking 35 miles on the treadmill, according to a study conducted by the University of Missouri. Performing daily household chores can keep you physically active and fit without going to the gym to workout.
- Exercise at Home
The freezing temperature can make some people too lazy to go out and hit the gym. Luckily, you can still enjoy a solid workout in the comforts of your home. There are many at-home workout videos on YouTube. You can also consider investing in some equipment, such as a treadmill, stationary bike or weights so you would not have any excuse to workout.
- Do Breathing Exercise
Proper breathing is the simplest way to boost blood circulation and transport oxygen to your brain. Sometimes, you feel unmotivated because of lethargy or inactivity. Practicing long, deep breathings even for just a few minutes can effectively clear your mind and boost your energy levels.
- Be Realistic with Your Goals
Having a set of goals is a good way to motivate you, but make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable. To help you set up your goals, talk to a personal training, exercise physiologist or other health professionals for guidance. Keep in mind that you do not need big goals to keep yourself healthy and fit. Walking to and from the shops is just as good a goal as running. Instead of waiting for the New Year, why not start now and set your fitness goals? After you have set up your goals, develop an exercise plan that will help you reach your goals. It could be as simple as creating a schedule for your winter workout routine.
- Be Kind to Yourself and Your Body
Engaging in physical activities comes with numerous health benefits, including a strong immune system and good mental health. You do not need to perform hours of exercise to reap those benefits. Any form of physical activity is better than doing nothing. Also, health experts slam the idea of “no pain, no gain”. Going against your limit can be physically and mentally exhausting, and it certainly will not give you any benefits. No matter what you do, never beat yourself up just because you feel lazy. It is normal to experience lapses. Take a break if you want to spend a day cozying up in your home.
- Treat Yourself Afterwards
Pat yourself on the back! After hours of working out, treat yourself to a delicious creamy turmeric latte or your favourite meal. If you are able to get up early and witness the sunrise 5 mornings in a row, then you deserve a tasty avocado toast. If you do this for a month, reward yourself with something you love. That is how to stay motivated to exercise.
If you want to maximize your winter workout training, talk to our physiotherapist at Oriole Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre. We can help create an exercise program that ensures your health and safety. Call us today at (416) 221-0772 to book an appointment or visit our North York physiotherapy clinic.