When the temperatures start to dip, working out can become a challenge even for the fittest of people. It’s just a little more difficult to convince yourself to put on multiple layers of clothes to trek outdoors for a run or to drive to the gym to get on the treadmill.
But, if you want to look and feel great once the snow and ice thaw at winter’s end, you need to put in the work now.
Here are five ways to stay motivated and keep active during the cold months.
Set goalsIf you’re struggling to keep yourself motivated this time of the year, heat things up by challenging yourself with a new goal you’d like to reach.
Since most big exercise events and races are in the spring and summer, the winter can be all about getting yourself ready for those events. It can be anything from upping your weight lifting weight, to losing a few pounds, to running a 5K. Or, for more experienced runners, running your first half marathon at the Love Run on April 10.
Be sure to choose a goal that you really want so that it pushes you beyond your comfort zone in order to reach it. Once you have a big goal in mind, break it down into smaller, achievable action steps so that you stay on the path to success.
Get a workout wingman (or wingwoman)Training with a buddy or significant other is a great way to increase accountability.
Committing to train with someone will often force you to increase your level of effort as you both push each other to achieve more. It will also help you to keep more of a set schedule since you won’t be doing it alone. It's important to find a partner who has similar reasons for working out. This will help to form a stronger bond between the two of you and encourage you both to keep cheering each other on as you progress.
Try something newWhy not mix in some cross training into your workout routine?
Being limited to indoor workouts is a great opportunity to add in cross-training and/or core-strengthening, which will help prevent injury. Sign up for a new class at the gym, join an indoor sports league or simply change up your workout regimen this winter. Trying something new can reignite your motivation and give you a fresh perspective. Also, paying extra to participate is a good way to keep you from deciding to skip too many days.
And speaking of being indoors, if you are spending a lot of time running on a treadmill due to the weather, be sure to build up to your outdoor runs slowly once the weather breaks. The mechanics and pace of a treadmill workout versus a run on the roads are not always the same, so it's best to get your body used to the change slowly. Similarly, if you are starting to run on a treadmill after only running outdoors, it's important to build up your workouts to help your body adjust.
Dress the partIf you know you won’t be able to get past the distractions at home or work to make exercising indoors on possible, make exercising outside easier. You’ll need breathable, but fitted attire to keep warm and help reduce sweat. Because the body is mainly focused on warming your core, a hat, gloves, and warm socks are critical to feeling comfortable when the cold really hits.
If your workout includes a trip to the gym, you’ll be more motivated to stick to your plans if you dress comfortably and can easily change to your workout gear. Wear boots with zippers, comfy pants, or thick tights so getting your street clothes on and off isn't a battle.