During this time of year, especially with the holiday indulgences, it’s essential to take time for your health through exercise. But when the cold winter months arrive, it only makes us want to crawl deeper under the covers. So what can we do to motivate ourselves into working out? How do we convince the brain to break a sweat?
Finding the motivation to work out during the winter doesn’t come easy. But once you continue the routine, you’ll realize the cold is not that bad. From dressing in warm activewear to setting a spring goal, here are 11 tips to stay motivated to work out during the winter.
1. Prepare Yourself with Warm Clothes
The chilly winter season brings challenges to workout routines. Starting out, make sure to invest in high-quality women’s activewear like leggings and sports bras that offer moisture-wicking fabrics that prevent rubbing and chafing. If you plan to run on potentially icy conditions, buy some new workout sneakers with decent traction. Buying yourself some new cold-weather activewear can make stepping outside in the frigid air a bit easier.
2. Start with Indoor Warm-ups
Before you begin a workout, it’s essential to warm up and stretch your muscles.
According to the American Heart Association, you should warm up for roughly 10-15 minutes to increase your heart rate gradually, ultimately minimizing stress on the heart. Leg swings, butt kicks and jumping jacks are great for getting blood pumping before running or working out. It also flexes the joint to reduce the chance of injuries.
3. Recruit a Workout Buddy
Another way to stay motivated to work out during winter is to rope in an accountability partner. Having a workout buddy can keep you on track and hold you accountable on extremely chilly days when you just want to bail and stay indoors drinking hot cocoa. Plus, when you have a friend to meet and catch up with, it makes working out that much more enjoyable. Just make sure they are on the same fitness level as you and you can keep up with one another. You wouldn’t want to schedule a running date only for one of you to lag behind, holding the other back.
4. Switch It Up with New Workouts
If boredom and monotony is causing you to miss workouts, shake things up! Switch out your usual exercise routine and learn something new. If you typically go jogging in the morning, try jogging in a new location like a park trail where you can take in the fresh air. You can also switch up different workouts each week. One week do cardio and the next do strength-training. You can even sign up for a fitness class, both through YouTube videos and in-person. You might even meet an accountability partner there.
5. Remember the Money You Spent
Speaking of classes, once you pay for a class or gym membership, don’t let the money go to waste. Money can be a huge motivator, so if you remind yourself how much you spent, you’ll want to make the most of it and get the best bang for your buck. So whether it’s an online fitness tracking app or a private instructor, keep up the workouts by being mindful of your wallet.
6. Keep a Health Journal
A health journal offers many benefits. For one, it allows you to keep track of the food you eat, monitoring nutrition, sugar, fats, carbohydrates and more. It allows you to see how you are progressing. And second, a health journal allows you to make notes of how you felt after each workout. If you enjoy your run on the park trail, make note of it and jot down how it made you feel. Maybe it alleviated some anxiety being out in nature. If you did some cardio or yoga, feeling utterly pumped up or zenned out, make note of that, too. Looking back on these days and workouts can help you stay motivated and remind you why you should continue your fitness journey.
7. Share Your Progress
Another way to stay motivated to work out during the winter is to share your progress. Sharing your exercises and workout routines with family or even by posting to social media can provide a real confidence boost. This is a great alternative when you can’t convince someone into becoming a workout buddy. Except, instead of a single friend to hold you accountable, you have followers and family members cheering you on.
8. Invest in Home Gym Equipment and Other Fitness Tools
Having a home gym and the appropriate fitness equipment can be a real motivator, especially when you hate the cold. (Plus, investing in home fitness equipment adds the money motivation factor, too!) And when you have a home gym, there’s really no excuse. Even if you’re a work at home mom, exercising 15 minutes here and there throughout the day can improve your health.
You don’t need to clear out the guest bedroom, either! Pick up a few pieces like a kettlebell, yoga mat and weights. It’s all you need to get the job done in the living room as you watch TV or listen to music. Find an online fitness trainer who offers fitness training through a YouTube channel–whatever you need to feel motivated!
9. Set a Spring Fitness Goal
It’s important to just get started, whether or not you have a fitness goal in mind. However, once you get into the groove, consider a spring fitness goal. Push yourself to train for your first marathon or to hit a desired weight. Whatever types of goals you have, set a March timeframe deadline and get moving.
10. Reward Yourself
Remember to reward yourself! While achieving a healthier lifestyle is the long-term reward, it helps to stay motivated through smaller self-congratulatory pats on the back. This can be something as small as a warm cup of tea or coffee after each workout. Or it can be treating yourself to some cute new gear. You could even reward yourself with a home gym if you truly love working out at home. Whatever you like!
11. Let Your Body Recover
It’s important to be kind to your body and give it time to recover. When setting a spring fitness goal, make it one that’s realistic and attainable. Otherwise, you might burn out really fast, and that can really put a damper on your workout motivations. Also, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and let deep muscles recover in a soothing hot bath. Give yourself days off (and cheat days when it comes to nutrition).