Sometimes we want to go out there and get after it, to be active and do something great for our bodies and in turn our minds. Yet, as the days get colder and also darker earlier, sometimes obstacles can surface. Exercise undeniably helps our mental health and also boosts our immunity during cold and flu season, so we need to keep making it a priority even when the weather conditions are not ideal. Below are 10 tips to help make your fitness journey a reality during the winter!
1) Find an exercise partner or group.
Having a workout buddy or group can excite you and motivate you! Accountability can be so critical as the days get colder and it gets darker earlier.
2) Bundle up and find a fun activity to do outdoors!
As the seasons change, exploring new outdoor activities can be both fun and rewarding! Is there a safe trail to explore nearby? Have you visited all of the parks in your area? Is there a cross-country skiing location (the state parks often have these) to venture to perhaps on a weekend? Are there any local places to ice skate? When temperatures are very cold, stay insulated, and don’t take off layers of clothing outdoors so you can protect your body.
3) Get it done while getting stuff done!
Raking leaves, cleaning up the garage and shoveling snow at your house all entail physical activity. Functional household work like that counts in more ways than one. Woo hoo for the win-win opportunities!
4) Walk at an indoor location, such as a mall.
Get moving, stay toasty, keep on keeping on, don’t stop, get it, get it (ok, so you know what I mean)! Anyway, walking at the mall can also lend to a positive mindset by being around others. You’re smiling, aren’t you?
5) Create a home gym without breaking the bank.
Many stores have a variety of affordable workout items, ranging from dumbbells to kettlebells, resistance bands, and more. Pick and choose what you want to use…and then have fun using it! Five Below, Meijer and Walmart are my go-to places for grabbing some good stuff at discount prices.
6) Explore resources for free indoor workouts.
SO many options exist online via Google searches, Pinterest, YouTube, and more! I am a big fan of My Fitness Pal; they post wonderful blogs, fitness, and nutrition videos. Here is just one of many links for specific home workout ideas that can be accessed for free.
The Nike Training Club is another resource. This is a popular app that allows you to pick and choose which workouts you want to do, ranging from low impact to high intensity and in between! It also takes into account whether you have equipment or not, so you would be able to incorporate what you do have!
Planet Fitness is offering an array of live videos that promote working out from home with a trainer. Their campaign is entitled, “United We Move” and is available to anyone and everyone! Pretty cool, right?
7) Find a new gym, class, or activity.
Sometimes working out at home loses its luster for some. Have you thought about trying out that hot yoga class, but didn’t take the plunge yet? Or maybe you have friends who are really into CrossFit and that intrigues you. Or, you like the idea of a boot camp class. Whether it’s boxing, Pilates, or a “globo” gym environment, we certainly are not shy of fitness opportunities; there is something out there for everyone! And most places will let you try them out for free at least for one day, some even for a whole trial week.
8) Have a routine; be prepared.
If you work out in the mornings, set yourself up for success by setting out your exercise clothes the night before, or by getting them on as soon as you get out of bed. Or, if you are an evening exerciser, put on workout clothes as soon as you get home from work so you do not get side-tracked by something else. The idea is you are being mindful of what you need to be engaged and consistent with your physical activity. When you are dressed and prepared, you are less likely to let anything get in the way of your workout! Create a routine and try to not only stick with it, but to enjoy it as much as possible.
9) Stay fueled and hydrated.
Your mood, appetite and energy levels are impacted by your nutrition and hydration. Set yourself up for workout success by eating a lot of nutrient-dense foods (think lean proteins, fruits, vegetables) and drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
10) Focus on your mental health.
Remember that staying active is good for your body, mind, and soul. When we work out, we release endorphins that help us feel more positive, optimistic and accomplished. Stay focused on all the benefits you are reaping by exercising, especially the mental health benefits. When you take time to reflect on your “why,” you are more likely to engage the “how” to make it happen! Yoga, meditation, and stretching are great ways to engage with your mental mindset.
So, bundle up, push away any self-doubts, overcome the winter blues, and get your body moving! Then, repeat forever. You’ve got this!