Exercising in winter can be darn tough! There’s no other way to put it. Getting yourself out of bed early, on those frosty winter mornings to exercise is not fun. Exercising outdoors in winter is not fun. But it is worth it and if I can do it anyone can do it.
Exercising in winter, brings benefits in spring. When the sun finally shines, you will be fit and healthy and excited to get out into the sunshine and exercise. You will have a head start with your fitness, and be ready to go full steam ahead when the weather starts to improve.
- Set alarm for an early start and move it away from the bed. This works every time for me. If I have to get out of bed and cross the room to turn off the alarm, there is more chance that I will make it to that early morning session. Actually getting out of that warm, comfy bed is the tricky part. Once your feet have hit the floor, there’s more chance that you will stay out of bed and get that session started. I’ve said many times, that it’s my opinion that the mornings are the best time to exercise. Nothing gets in the way in the early hours, except for ‘can’t be bothered’ thoughts. If you leave exercising until later in the day, perhaps after work, there’s every chance that you will find something else that needs to be done instead.
- Shake up your fitness routine for the winter Perhaps you would be more inclined to stick to an exercise program if you were to keep it indoors. Maybe you need to change things around a bit or try something new to keep yourself interested. If you really can’t stomach the thought of being outdoors in winter, and it’s putting you off exercising, then take your sessions indoors. You could join a gym for the winter, if that is something you would enjoy. But it’s not necessary, as there are plenty of exercise programs that you could do at home. Just choosing to do something different could be all it takes to get you going again.
- Find a like minded exercise buddy. Make an appointment to meet up with a friend to exercise together. If you would be letting your friend down, there is less chance that you would cancel the session. The thought of your friend waiting on the street corner on a cold, frosty morning will be enough to get you out there. You may even like to use a personal trainer as your exercise buddy
- Set exercise goals that you would like to achieve by the time winter is over. With these goals in mind, you will be more inclined not to miss a session. I love setting goals. I set new goals every 12 weeks. When I allow myself to visualise how I would feel at the end of the twelve week block, when my goals have been reached, that feeling is always enough to get me excited. The fear of not meeting my goals is usually enough to keep me motivated.
- Get outdoors and layer up. I love exercising outdoors in winter, even though at times the thought of doing it can put me off. I love getting outdoors for a brisk walk on a cold wintry day. Call me crazy, but I even enjoy walking in the rain on a wintery day. The trick is to start with lots of layers and strip them off one at a time, as you warm up. When I was crossing the Pyrenees on the Camino de Santiago, the day was freezing cold, with rain, sleet, snow and strong winds. Just the kind of day that would be perfect spent by the fire with a book. I look very very cold in this photo, taken at the top of the Pyrenees, but under all that gear, I was very toasty and warm. This was the worst weather day during six weeks of walking, but the day I enjoyed the most.
- Treat yourself to new workout gear. Any excuse is a good excuse for new workout gear. These days there are cheaper options available, so check them out and outfit yourself in some new gear that will brighten the bleakest of wintry days. Psychologically this will make a huge difference to your attitude to exercise. It does for me. I love it when I have new workout gear to flaunt in my home gym. It doesn’t matter if I’m the only person in that gym and there is nobody to see but me. Catching a glimpse of my new gear in the gym mirror makes me feel good.
- Plan a reward system. The reward doesn’t have to be anything major. You could arrange a catch up with friends. Shout yourself to a relaxing facial. For no cost at all, you could reward yourself with a couple of hours doing something you love. For me, that could be a half day bushwalking. A simple reward that I would love to earn would be a few hours uninterrupted, with a book. These are just a couple of examples.
- Review your nutrition choices. Has the cold weather been persuading you to choose comfort food too often? Comfort food in winter is fantastic! But it definitely is one of my downfalls in the cold weather as comfort food is usually more calorie dense. Also, in cold weather we tend to eat less salads and leafy greens in winter. These choices can add unexpected extra calories into our daily intake. One tip would be to make homemade soups filled with vegies for a nutritious comfort meal
- A regular winter exercise program will help to ensure that you beat the winter blues. The weather may be cold out there, but you will feel so proud of yourself for turning up to your exercise sessions. Believe me, by the time the session is over, you will be feeling much warmer….and much better for actually doing it.
How do you cope with exercising in cold weather? I’d love to hear your tips and promise to reply to all comments.
* Very important: If you are new to exercising or just starting out after a long break, please see your doctor for a general check up first.