Let’s be honest, during the winter, one of the last things we want to do is exercise. Whether that be at a gym, or outdoors, many all of us would rather stay warm and hibernate. However, the value of exercise is important, no matter what time of year. With so many benefits to be gained, being better prepared makes it less of a chore and maybe a little more enjoyable!
1. Baby steps: Make your first goal to get to the gym, or wherever you decide to workout. For many, the hardest part mentally is just getting started. This is especially true when it’s dark outside when you get home from work, or when you wake up in the morning. To start off, get dressed in your workout clothes and move for at least a few minutes. As you make exercise a part of your routine, you can slowly build up on the time and intensity!
2. Crank up the heat: If your schedule only allows for an early morning workout, then program your thermostat in the morning to ensure a toasty atmosphere when you wake up. Also, warming up your workout clothes before you put them on and head to the gym can help make the cold more bearable.
3. Layers: Staying warm and dry when exercising in cold weather is all about layers. A little preparation can keep you safe from cold weather exposure, and help make your trip to the gym more manageable. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, layers of clothing will help trap the heat and serve as insulation from the tundra-like conditions this time of year.
4. Drink up: Although we tend to think of dehydration as a summertime problem, it doesn’t disfavor the cooler months. One important thing to remember is that thirst is not the best indicator that you need to drink water. Instead, drink water throughout the day, and during your workouts, even if you don’t “feel” thirsty. Doing so will keep you adequately hydrated and feeling your best in all conditions!
5. Staying active indoors: If the winter weather prevents you from getting outside, don’t put on your favorite Disney+ or Netflix show just yet. Instead, make your time inside count. There are many ways to get physical activity indoors—no gym required. Among a plethora of things to do at home are climbing stairs, doing body weight exercises, and dancing! Regardless of what you choose, be creative and remember that the goal is to move.
6. Find the time: Lack of time is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles to beginning an exercise routine. More often then not, we can all squeeze a quick ½ hour exercise into our daily routines. However, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, many opt not to. One helpful tip here is to monitor your day-to-day activities for a few days, including the weekends, and identify at least 3, ½ hour time slots that you can dedicate to exercising.
7. Get your family & friends involved: Our family & friends might not share the same interest in exercising. A possible solution is to explain your fitness and health goals, and ask for their support. Also, inviting them to exercise with you can be a great way to stay motivated and be held accountable, especially on those days where you’d rather stay home and binge watch a TV show. We’ve all been there, so it’s nice to have someone who can help keep you on track!