I love the outdoors, but I hate the cold equally so! As such, every year as winter sets in, the last thing that appeals to me is to go outdoors for my daily five mile walk! Like thousands of Americans, my motivation to workout rapidly begins to dwindle at the first signs of winter, and I would rather cosy up with a large cup of tea and the cat, especially when my husband’s got a nice fire going!
So, whether you exercise outdoors or at the gym, the struggle to stay motivated is real! Spring is still several months away and moving to Australia for the winter is not an option, but neither is letting go of your fitness habit! Instead, here are twelve ways to help you stay motivated to workout during the cold, dark winter months!
1. Create warmth
Make early rising a little less chilly by adjusting the thermostat timer to start warming your home before the alarm goes off. You’ll feel less tempted to stay snuggled up in bed if your bedroom isn’t cold when you get up. Also, remember to put your workout clothes on the heater or radiator the night before. That way, they’ll be nice and toasty when you put the on!
2. Wake up tunefully
To help you jump out of bed, forego the annoying buzz of your alarm clock by turning it into a radio station that plays upbeat, energizing music. Alternatively, program your smart phone alarm to play Eye Of The Tiger, or other motivating song to stimulate your get-up-and-go!
3. Indoor warmup
Before you head outdoors, take the pain out of facing the cold by doing your warm up routine in the cosy comfort of your own living room. Doing some dynamic stretches, jumping jacks, push ups or some sun salutations will get your heart going and blood pumping!
4. Dress appropriately
There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing! Upgrade your workout wardrobe to proper winter attire. If you’re concerned about the cost of hats, gloves, and jackets designed for winter outdoor activity, the price is easily offset by the increased comfort it provides by counteracting the cold, and making your outdoor workout more enjoyable.
5. Buddy up
Team up with someone who is willing to commit to joining you for runs or workouts, holding one another accountable for showing up and staying motivated. Sharing the discomfort of getting up while it is still dark outside with another person takes the sting out of facing the cold first thing!
6. Excuse prevention
Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you have to drive across town in the snow or freeze while riding the bus to get to the gym, the greater the chances are that you’ll make excuses not to go. Remove the hurdles that attract excuses, and keep it simple! Take a 25 minute walk at lunchtime, or running several laps around your neighborhood is a good start, or devise a home workout.
7. The home workout
If you really can’t face the cold, the home workout can be pretty awesome! Invest in simple fitness equipment, such as a set of kettlebells or resistance bands. And if you’re not sure what to do, there are countless workout videos available free on YouTube, or fitness apps that can get you started!
8. A break from the norm
Wintertime is a great season for slowing down and not pushing yourself to the limits, making the winter a time for healing and restoration. Try something different like yoga or pilates, which isn’t so hard on the joints but provides amazing, long term benefits for both body and mind!
9. Instagram your workout
Stay accountable in a really public way by posting pictures your workout on social media, or checking in Facebook when you're at the gym. This can help to strengthen your commitment to your fitness goals, even if you workout just to avoid the guilt and embarrassment of not following through! Adding a splash of humor to your posts is a fun way to spur you on!
10. Workplace wellness
Many companies offer wellness programs that provide monetary incentive for working out, such as reimbursing gym memberships if you work out so many times in one month. To add some extra incentive, some companies present employees with fun weight loss challenges in which they win a prize for most weight lost.
11. Set small goals for big rewards
Stay on track by breaking your bigger goals down into smaller, more manageable ones. Perhaps it’s the number of workouts or miles run in a week, increasing as you go from week to week. To maximize motivation, write your goals down, track your progress, and don’t forget to celebrate your wins!
12. See the bigger picture
Create your own 12 week workout calendar, from January to March, and post it somewhere you can see it everyday. When you look over the three months, you will realize how quickly the time is going to go and feel motivated to use the time well. Winter can feel long and arduous, but the spring thaw will be upon us before you know it!