We all know we should be getting our exercise in - we know that we will feel better and look better as well as increase our lifespan and make those extra years good ones. So why aren't we all out there every day? The reason is, for many, excercise isn't fun - especially during the colder months when it seems like the gym is your only option. And if it's not fun, your motivation to do it is pretty low. So if your motivation to work out is wavering, check out these tips below on how to make fitness fun - even in winter!
- Stuck in a rut? Switch it up! You don't have to do the same thing all the time! If you're getting bored with the treadmill, try out the elliptical, the bike, or buy a jump rope. It doesn't matter as much what you are doing, as long as you are getting out there and doing it!
- Take it outside! Just because winter weather is upon us, it doesn't mean you're stuck in the gym. Get out and explore the great white outdoors! Strap on your skis, bundle up for a snowy hike or grab your shovel and clear the sidewalks and driveway - it may seem like work, but it's also a great work out! The fresh air will lift your mood and the wintry conditions are a fun way to get a new take on familiar surroundings.
- Missing your friends? Make it a date! If you can't make time for exercise and keep up with friends, meet your friends at the gym, walk with the neighbor or sign up with your best pal for a new class. This makes exercise feel like more fun and less work!
- Fight the urge to be a couch potato and still catch up on all the shows you've recorded - put your treadmill in the living room, or use a pair of hand weights to get some reps in while you're watching last week's favorite shows!
- Crank up the music. Everyone has those favorite songs that get their heads bobbing and their toes tapping. Next time you're heading out to burn some calories, make sure you bring your favorite tunes along to help keep you moving!
- Set goals and reward yourself. What are you working toward? Whether it's to lose weight, have a leaner body, maybe get in that smaller pair of pants - what will you do for yourself along the way? Set incremental rewards for yourself that help keep you motivated. Maybe you'll splurge on a new pair of shoes once you lose that first ten pounds, or maybe you'll treat yourself to a manicure. Whatever works for you is great, as long as it doesn't reverse your progress or make your long term goals further out of reach (pigging out on a gallon of your favorite ice cream is not going to help!)
- Train for something! If you want to keep yourself focused, train for a race coming up this spring. Walk or run a 5k that benefits cancer research. Or maybe you'd like to try a cycling race. It doesn't matter what, but training for something helps keep you focused - since races are scheduled, it keeps you from getting lazy and putting off exercise. In the end you'll not only feel like you have accomplished something, but in many cases you may have helped a worthy cause!
- Team up. If the thought of sweating along side strangers at the gym brings you down, and you're more of a competitive person, join an indoor sports team or league. There are lots of adult leagues that can fill your needs. If there's a sport you have always wanted to learn (I'm thinking about trying volleyball myself), contact a local recreation center or sports club and see if there is room for one more in their league!
- Make it a family event. If you feel like exercise has to take you away from your family or has to cost a lot, think again! Your own backyard is full of possibilities. When the weather's cooperating, get your family outside and play a game of touch football or tag (extra fun in the snow!). Got to the local park and challenge your spouse and kids to a game of H-O-R-S-E on the basket ball court (this is one of my family's personal favorites!). No need to wait for it to warm up, physical activity will get your blood pumping - just be sure to dress appropriately! Not only will you reap the rewards, but it will get your kids away from the video games and can be a great opportunity to find out what's going on in their lives.
- Don't forget the family pet! Does your dog desperately need an opportunity to run off some of that pent up energy? Get the leash and run with him outside. Make it a morning or evening activity, and you can easily get in your 30 minutes of cardio a day!
Exercise does not have to mean hauling yourself to the gym for yet another hour on the treadmill. If you dread it, it doesn't work for you, so find out what does! Get up and get moving, it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you are doing it!
Cathy Derringer is an Expert Trainer at Five Seasons Dayton. As a mother of three, Cathy knows how important an active, healthy lifestyle is to parents to maintain balance and focus. Cathy's positive attitude motivates her clients to push themselves farther than they may have thought possible. Her specialties include weight loss, general fitness, weight training and group exercise. Let her passion for exercise help you achieve your goals.