We all know that it’s super hard to stay motivated to exercise during winter, but if we can show up for ourselves during the cooler months, we’ll be stronger for it in the other seasons. The easy option is to surrender to the cold and dark evenings, but if you’re willing to do what’s hard – and that is to show up and keep your momentum – you’ll most definitely reap the benefits.
Read on for a few of our tips for exercising during the cooler months, and remember: it’s all about your mindset – rug up warm, conquer your mind and the external conditions will never matter!
Grab a buddy
If you find your motivation levels sliding or your interest in your current movement of choice waning, reset your expectations and training plan, and create accountability with a training partner. It’s been proven time and time again that scheduling exercise with a buddy will get the majority of us off the couch and out the door even when it’s chilly outside. The bonus is that you get some in-person contact to boot. After the last year and a half, we could all do with a bit more of that!
Try something new
Perhaps your usual exercise of choice is a walk or an ocean swim, both of which can be a little more challenging in winter. Trying a new way of moving will definitely keep your motivation up, as something as simple as changing your environment can drastically change your way of doing things and your mindset. When you repeat the same actions, you slowly start losing interest in them. Instead, try a new circuit class or Pilates, or even hot yoga, which is particularly inviting in winter!
Go hard and fast
When your schedule is jam-packed, or you just can’t imagine mustering the energy and motivation for a long workout, there’s good news on the exercise front. You can complete a workout in less time than a single commercial break by doing Tabata workouts, a specific type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that only takes four minutes. Examples of equipment-free exercises that work well for Tabata workouts include squats, jumping jacks, forward and reverse lunges, mountain climbers, jogging in place, push-ups, jump squats, lateral lunges, dips, planks, and other core exercises.
Set realistic goals
If you had solid summertime exercise habits, you will have an easier time sticking to an exercise routine, but do not be discouraged if it takes longer than you think to start – or even just re-establish – this habit. Figure out what is attainable and what you can effortlessly fit into your daily routine. Creating small, more realistic goals that are measurable and attainable will keep you getting out there, and prevent injury if you’re new to regular exercise.
Scheduling time to focus on your exercise goals over winter is crucial because life – and bad weather – can easily get in the way and zap your time. Take the decision-making out of initiating a new task by booking in and putting a date in your diary. Sign up for the class ahead of time, pick out the workout clothes the night before, or set your sneakers in the right place to make following through on your plans as easy as possible.
If in doubt, shop
Nothing is more motivating for many of us than investing in some seriously cute kit. Exercise wear is a huge trend category all its own these days, and shopping for some great cold-weather options is essential during the winter months. The chance to wear that surprisingly flattering puffer vest, snuggly tights and cashmere beanie will get you out pounding the streets on crisp wintery days, even if nothing else will!
Be kind to yourself
If you’ve been away from exercise for a while or just finding getting out of bed on chilly mornings isn’t working so well for you, don’t be discouraged. Getting into the swing of things doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing event. Be patient and kind to yourself as you navigate your newfound motivation. Be mindful of your inner critic and instead, be your own cheerleader. You’ll go farther than you think!