Keep Fit, Healthy, and Motivated this Winter
Keeping motivated to maintain your health and fitness during the darker, colder winter days can be a challenge! Whether it’s going for a run in the morning, cycling to work or going to the gym in the evening; it can become increasingly difficult to keep active due to declining motivation.
Want to stay motivated this winter?
Winter tiredness can make you feel more lethargic due to the reduced exposure to sunlight and increased release of melatonin.
Therefore, it is important to tweak your training schedule and routine to make sure you remain motivated to keep active, fit and healthy this winter.
1. Exercise indoors more frequently
If you are familiar with training outdoors, try finding an alternative exercise that you can do indoors! Usually, there are cardio-machines (e.g. treadmill or exercise bike) at the gym that can be used as an alternative to running or cycling outside; this may help to safeguard against injury due to poor outdoor conditions (e.g. loss of footing or grip due to adverse conditions).
Furthermore, in addition to the comfortable facilities, the gym can offer access to a diverse range of useful alternative equipment and exercises.
If you predominantly avoid resistance machines, why not build your strength and explosive power, or alternatively, it may offer a warm place to stretch and improve flexibility.
2. Manage your health
Due to the darker days, you may find that you don’t receive a huge amount of sunlight; this can make it difficult to achieve a sufficient intake of Vitamin D. Therefore, dietary inclusion of vitamin D rich foods is essential (e.g. Oily fish, eggs, fortified products).
Vitamin D is important to the body due to its role in maintaining bone, teeth and muscle health. Furthermore, the risk of cold and flu can be increasingly likely due to warm, confined environments which can be disruptive to training and also very demotivating.
Furthermore, the colder weather can make asthma symptoms worse due to cold air irritation; treatment to attenuate these symptoms is crucial.
3. Set realistic goals and targets
Reviewing your workout goals may be worthwhile to ensure you remain motivated, especially if you are finding it difficult to stick to your current workout schedule due to difficult weather and increased feeling of lethargy.
Reducing the frequency of workout sessions throughout the week but increasing the intensity of the sessions you commit to may make for a more practical training schedule whilst maintaining sufficient workload. Create new challenges!
Winter training may result in increased use of the gym and additional facilities. Why not try to develop an element of your fitness or exercise that you have previously not focused on before (e.g. core strength, explosive power, targeting muscle groups).
When performing new exercises or using new equipment, make sure you get sufficient rest account for the effects of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) which is a common side effect of overloading the body.
4. Exercise with others
If you are finding it increasingly difficult to stay active over winter, find someone or a group to train with. This may consist of a friend that you can exercise with or a class or club you can join to commit your time to.
This is also effective at making training socially engaging and competitive, which can be effective at making it more enjoyable and motivating.
The benefits of exercising with others are profound, consisting of an increased likelihood of maintaining physical activity commitments, increasing performance due to a competitive environment and enhancing well-being.
5. Make time for physical activity and exercise
Creating time for yourself and sticking to a realistic plan is key to ensuring you keep active.
It may be more convenient to exercise later in the evening at the gym when it’s quieter after work, or earlier in the morning. Possibly rescheduling more of your training for the weekend may also be an effective way to commit to exercising.
It is also important to ensure you warm up thoroughly and equip yourself with warm clothing suitable for your training demands. Spend a little money and invest in your fitness goals; maybe get some new workout shoes, earphones or a gym membership…your health and fitness are more than worth it!
You can also start recording an activity and diet log to add routine to your exercise, in addition to the utility of guiding workload progression if your target is to improve performance.
If you are finding keeping active in the winter months difficult, try a few of these methods of boosting your motivation to stay fit and healthy this winter! Good luck!