Cold dark mornings, snowy sidewalks, busy work schedules, and general winter lethargy make it super easy to give in to temptation and skip our workouts. But don’t let the winter blues keep you from maintaining your fitness routine – now more than ever is when you want to keep that workout going! Think of all those holiday treats, cocktails, and delicious meals that are on the schedule.
Warm weather makes it easier to think about staying active. But one of the best ways to beat the winter blues is with exercise. Not only will it get our bodies warm with activity, it will also keep us invigorated, as natural endorphins released during a workout act as mood elevators, and feeling good physically is also good for us mentally.
We’ve got 7 tips for staying on track during the long, cold, and dark days of winter.
1. Set a schedule and stick to it. Make your workout a priority, even when you’d rather stay in bed or just come home from work and curl up on the couch to binge watch the shows you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Schedule a class, plan to meet up with a friend, pack your gym bag; do all those things that will keep you on track.
2. Try something new or revamp your routine with something a little different. Too cold to go outside? Try a spin class. This is a great time to try some group fitness classes, like barre or boot camp, and you can go to them and stay dry. They add a nice social element too, as everyone is probably inside for the same reason – it’s too cold outside. Another option: mall walking. If you can, hit the mall during off-hours, when the holiday crowds are smaller. Some malls offer an official mall-walking program, where you can track your miles and enjoy a little company with fellow mall-walkers.
3. Do shorter, more intense workouts.If you normally go for a 1-hour run, but the wind chill and mounds of snow make that run a little too dangerous, think of doing an at-home workout, something shorter and more intense. A 20 minute HIIT or circuit workout will give you a great workout in less time, and you won’t need to defrost your ears, nose, and hands when you’re done.
4. Active TV Viewing. Winter means binge-watching our favorite must-watch TV shows. You can turn that marathon couch session into a great workout. Commercial breaks offer the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a mini-workout, and you can stay in your comfy clothes! For each commercial, try a different movement: squats, push ups, planks, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, chair dips, speed skaters, lunges. A 30 second commercial break is the perfect amount of time to put in a few exercises.
5. Get the right gear. Sometimes we just can’t skip going outside, so having the right gear in our closets will keep us warm and dry during a winter workout. Sweat-wicking, thermal, wind and waterproof gear will keep you in motion when those winter winds blow.
6. Let the season dictate your workout. Try ice skating, go snowshoeing, sledding, or take a wintery, snow-filled walk.
7. Think ahead. As seasons go, after Winter comes Spring, and after Spring comes Summer…so Winter really is the time to start thinking about your warm weather goals: maybe it’s a spring break vacation, a wedding, a race you’ve signed up for. This is the best time to keep your workout working for you because the warm sun is really just a few weeks away!