Let's face it - even though we may have the best of intentions, there are times when the thought of exercising during the winter brings far more dread than excitement. After all, the temperatures are colder, the days are shorter and it's just harder to get motivated to work out. So what can you do to muster up enough inspiration to keep exercising during the winter? Below are some winter workout motivation tips to help you stay active during the cold months.
1. Variety is your friend.
If you try to keep the same workout routine in the winter that you were doing during the summer, you may find that your motivation won't be quite as strong. Try a new (or significantly altered) workout routine in order to add a little spice to your exercise sessions. If you belong to a gym or sports club, winter is the perfect time to try a new group fitness class or grab some friends and play basketball or racquetball together indoors. The newness of the winter workout routine will be a refreshing break from the norm, and it will help stave off boredom.
2. Find a workout buddy.
Working out with a friend is a great way to keep yourself accountable to your exercise goals. Not only will exercising with a friend be more fun, but it provides a good incentive to keep you from bailing on your workouts.
3. Embrace the cold weather.
There's no getting around it - winter is here and it's not leaving any time soon. But you can't stay inside on the couch until it warms up if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You have to learn how to toughen up, embrace the cold weather and face the elements with a "can-do" attitude. Getting outside will invigorate you and enliven your senses. Of course, be sure to use common sense: dress warmly and don't push yourself too far too fast. If it's your first time out in freezing weather, that's not the time to try to bang out a 12-mile run. Take steady, incremental steps so that you can build up to a place where your stamina and resistance are strong enough to help you push through your workouts on those bone-chilling days.
4. Set some goals.
Goals can be powerful motivators, especially when you make them challenging enough to stretch your limits. Use the SMART goal-setting system as a guide: Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive. For example, you could set a goal to run one mile every day for an entire month, or you could aim for a certain amount of pounds lost or a certain percentage of reduction in body fat by a given time limit. The more specific you can make your goals, the easier it will be to develop a solid game plan to achieve them. Put them in writing as well, and post them in a place where you will frequently look at them, such as your bathroom mirror on on the refrigerator. Many people use photos for inspiration as well.
5. Invest in home exercise equipment.
If the cold weather is just too rough to bear on some days, you can invest in some simple home gym equipment such as a pull-up bar or some free weights, kettlebells or dumbbells. You can also build a library of workout DVDs, or enlist the help of a workout/fitness smartphone app.
6. Purchase new workout gear.
Sometimes a little change of apparel is all you need to feel a renewed inspiration to exercise. Buy workout clothes that will be useful for the winter season such as windbreakers, hats, gloves and warm socks. A new pair of athletic sneakers can often be an adequate motivator as well. Choose bright colors to send subliminal energizing messages to your brain.
7. Remind yourself of the "why."
It's often been said that when you have a strong enough "why," the motivation will take care of itself. Remind yourself that you're working out to stay healthy and look good. Remind yourself that neglecting to work out will eventually produce low energy levels, weight gain and possible health complications down the line. Remind yourself that you want your body to be vibrant, strong and youthful, and the only way to achieve that is to work out consistently, even when you don't necessarily feel like doing it. Keeping these things in mind will help give you the motivation you need to get out of your comfort zone and stay active during the winter.