The cold, rainy, windy and potentially even snowy weather are all factors that really test whether you can stay motivated to exercise during the winter months. Couple that with shorter, darker days, and muddy wet ground, and outdoor training becomes a complete no-go for some of us.
Even many gym-goers – despite the warm and dry indoor location – ditch exercise sessions because of the wild weather getting from their house to the front door of the gym! Here are some of our top tips to help you stay motivated to exercise during winter:
Make a plan and stick to it
Get a piece of paper and plan out a typical week’s exercise. Start off by crossing out at least one day’s rest, then fill the rest of the days with your exercise sessions and the times you will commit to do them. Personal training sessions, group fitness classes, sports sessions, gym workouts – map them all in.
If you’re a regular exerciser during the warm months of the year, try and stick to your normal schedule as much as possible; even if it’s maintaining your usual time slot but swapping it out for another activity.
Choose activities you know you’ll do (and make a backup plan)
Don’t plan for three outdoor runs each week if you know you’ll get home after dark and you hate running when there’s no natural light. Find different activities that you know you will commit to; for example, some outdoor runners join a gym just for the wintertime so they can continue with treadmill runs until the weather gets better and daylight hours lengthen.
If you are a winter gym-goer, remember that getting to your gym in the first place can be the hardest part. Once you’re there, you will exercise and it won’t seem anywhere near that bad!
Also, plan for alternative exercise sessions for those times when it’s really pouring down outside and you don’t want to leave the house (because it very likely will happen!). Have a range of exercise DVDs at home, play an active exercise game on a gaming console, or have a backup bodyweight programme to do in your lounge.
Get others involved
Safety in numbers! If you train with your partner, a friend, a colleague or a family member (or better yet, a group of them!), you’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan. If nobody is willing to support you in this way, find a personal trainer who will help keep you motivated with regular appointments and accountability.
Image / Flickr – Randy Pertiet