We don’t mean to harp on about why you should continue working out through winter (we know the struggle is real), but there really are some things you can do to stop yourself from falling off the bandwagon altogether.
And whilst we’re not here to tell you to recruit a friend for accountability (although that does work), making small tweaks here and there and shifting your focus to how exercise makes you feel can sometimes be enough to get that little bod of yours moving.
Nothing motivates you more than acknowledging why you’re doing something in the first place. Whether that be getting in top shape for an upcoming trip or event or something entirely different altogether, having something to work towards is a surefire way to keep your workout routine (and mind) in check.
As Paige suggests, constantly reminding yourself of this goal can be as simple as setting a motivational photo as your phone background or sticking one on your fridge or bathroom mirror. “This is going to allow you to always be reminded of your goal,” she says. “Maybe your photo is of you when you were at your fittest, or of your body goal or even a motivating quote—anything that is going to keep you motivated.”
Another great tip would be to set small (but doable) weekly or monthly fitness goals, and then trying at least one new activity a month. For example:
We’ve all been there, you sleep through your alarm for the third day in a row then write-off exercise for the entire day and promise yourself you’ll definitely start tomorrow, but as Paige explains, it doesn’t have to be this way. “The best time to exercise is the time you’re MOST likely to exercise,” she says.
In other words, if you’re not a morning person and really can’t see yourself getting to the gym by 5.30am, aim for an evening session instead. “You can argue all the finer points and scientific hypotheses of the absolutely ideal time to exercise, but all the physiology in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re a no-show. Remember people telling you that ‘showing up’ is half the battle? Well, when it comes to going to the gym, it is! Set some small goals and do whatever works for you.”
We’re all creatures of habit. But if you find the gym boring or can’t stand the thought of a sweaty HIIT sesh after a long day at work, why not treat yourself to some movement outdoors? As much as we complain about how cold it may right now, Paige believes this is the best time of the year to get outside and get moving (plus you’ll nab yourself a good dose of Vitamin D).
“I love the crisp air, the smell of the leaves as they drop from the trees, and when it comes to my exercise routine, I feel like a superstar when I don’t have to contend with the heat and humidity the summer brings.” Try things like walking, running, biking, beach yoga or as Paige suggests, finding a seasonal sport to take up during the cooler months. “We all know that the days in winter are shorter and colder and that can have an effect on us. My best recommendation is to get outside at least 20-30 minutes everyday, even if that means you join a run club, go ice-skating or something simple like taking your dog out for a jog.”
You can take all the zinc, vitamin C and ArmaForce you want, but if you’re not taking time out to look after your body, you’re not going to reap all the health benefits.”It has been proven that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections (we especially need this in the winter months since it’s cold and flu season),” says Paige. “Plus, it can help manage symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).”
“A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and can help ease depression. There are so many benefits to staying active in the winter, as well as not wanting to play catch up for a summer body.”
Do you know how long it takes to see a decline in fitness levels after a period of not training? Some studies show as little as three weeks (VO2 max is one of the first things to depreciate)—yikes!
“When we stop engaging our bodies in physical activities, it causes all these measures of fitness to decline,” explains Paige. “Stop being as active as you were and before you know it, muscle strength, stamina, and coordination follow.”
“You can also expect a rise in blood sugar levels, and even blood pressure. What really happens is that the muscle cells—which are completely different than fat cells—become smaller, because now that you don’t have a demand of power and strength, they’re not growing. Meanwhile, the fat cells grow larger, which causes a change in one’s appearance. Although everyone is different, within 90 days you will decrease in your fitness level by nearly 25 per cent!”
Read more about why you should shake up your workout routine here.
For more reasons on why exercising when it’s cold out is actually good for you, click here.