For many of us, the cold weather adds another level of difficulty to the exercise equation, especially early mornings. Maybe you’ve been exercising for a while now and you just need to dig deep and maintain the routine even though it feels harder. Maybe you have wanted to try the gym or classes for a while and Winter is another perceived reason to put it off?
So let’s address the main barriers, starting with the obvious (it’s cold – I’m talking less than 10 degrees for some of us), it’s dark (see ya later daylight savings), and you just don’t feel as motivated.
- RUG UP – investing in some warmer activewear/jackets or pick something up second hand from the op shop so you feel ready to tackle the climate. Layering up at home will make the commute easier and you can take the layers off as you warm up during your workout.
[Peta Approved Vegan Puffer -> Women’s ThermoBall™ Hoodie by The North Face – This hoodie is perfect for the commuter, with wet-weather insulating ThermoBall™ technology insulation consists of clusters of synthetic balls, which achieve exceptional warmth in cold and wet weather]
- Be realistic with the best time/day that works for you. If you know, you consistently struggle with exercising after work because you find yourself always putting it off or getting held back at work/school then do it in the morning. The morning seems tough, but honestly, commit to it for a few weeks and notice how good you feel. You will be more alert/awake to tackle the day, you will feel accomplished as you’re starting the day on a positive note and you have more time to do other things at night.
- Stay active every day (not just gym or a physical class) think about ways to keep active in the comfort of your home (it all counts) and resist the urge to go into hibernation. You will see the most benefit from a structured gym program that implements progressive overload but sometimes it is just about keeping the body moving and something is better than nothing. Set yourself a step goal and try to get up at least every hour to move around – usually 10,000 steps/day or complete a bodyweight workout at home using a Tabata timer (free download).
- Recruit a workout buddy and set yourself a challenge (to exercise together 3 days a week etc), the challenge itself could be purely just to keep active, or it could be related to gaining strength/muscle etc whatever will be a strong enough motivator to keep you going through the cold mornings and busy periods.
- Winter = comfort food. And comfort food that is usually warm and hearty can also be packed full of micronutrients and well balanced. Think about 2-3 meals you enjoy and cook in advance/freeze some for emergencies. Lentil Dahl, Lentil Chickpea Salad, Black Bean Burritos (or bowls).
- BE PREPARED (nuts/seeds in your handbag, packing your lunch rather than buying, having some goods options stocked up at your desk/at home) set up your environment to support your good food decisions (eating a wide variety of foods and eating enough) so you can fuel your workouts and feel good.