Now that it’s officially winter up here in the Northeast, the season of “excuses” has begun (some admittedly convincing!) – the days are so short, it’s cold out, it’s snowing, the lack of sun – it’s just so hard to get motivated!
The reality is that our bodies are meant to move daily – preferably outdoors. Benefits of outdoor exercise include a more positive mood, a boost for the immune system, a dose of vitamin D, and the healing and mindful effects of being in nature. Perhaps you’ll discover a newfound love for outdoor exercise in the winter – like how invigorating the fresh air is or how peaceful it is to walk under those beautiful late afternoon winter skies.
But if being out in the cold really isn’t your thing, this is a wonderful time to explore all those indoor activities we tend to avoid when the weather is warm and beautiful. There really are endless ways to keep your body moving - both indoors and outdoors - throughout the winter!
If you’re looking for some inspiration to start or keep your movement practice going, read on for my tips on how to keep you motivated despite the winter blues.
FIRST THINGS FIRST - DO WHAT YOU LOVE! You must enjoy it. This truly is the key to developing and maintaining a movement practice. It shouldn’t feel like work, a task on your to do list, or something to rush though. You should enjoy it, and if you don’t? Don’t do it. Try something else.
OUTDOOR FITNESS TIPS
If you’re ready to face the great outdoors, options include walking, hiking, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and even tobogganing.
Dress the Part – This is essential. You need to layer up in warm, moisture wicking clothing to keep you warm and dry. Be sure to cover your head, hands, and feet appropriately and wear a wind blocking outer layer.
Warm Up Inside First – Run around, dance, do jumping jacks, whatever you prefer to get your blood pumping and your body warmed up. About 5 minutes of warming up should do the trick.
Tune In – To get motivated and stay motivated it can be helpful to bring along some music or a podcast to keep your mind from focusing on the cold. Unless I’m with my dog, music is a must for running because it keeps me motivated and energized.
INDOOR FITNESS TIPS
If you just can’t face the cold, indoor options include yoga, Pilates, cardio machines, strength training, app guided workouts, and so much more!
Check Out A Gym or Studio
If you prefer to leave your house and be around others, heading to a gym or studio is an excellent option.
Find Your Place – There are many to choose from, but it’s important to find one where you like the vibe and feel comfortable. Most offer drop-in fees and/or trial memberships so you can try out the facility without having to commit to a full membership. It can take some time to find one that suits you but once you do, you’ll look forward to going and never want to leave. I always prefer women’s only gyms or gyms with women’s only areas with plenty of small weights, weight machines that were made for women, and a spa-like locker room.
Try A Class – Group fitness classes to try at the gym/studio include various yoga classes, Pilates, spinning, Barre, NIA, Tai Chi, kickboxing, bootcamp, BODYPUMP, BODYFLOW... the options are endless!
Do Your Own Thing – Can’t make a class? The gym has it all! Get your blood flowing with high quality treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and/or take advantage of the free weights, weight machines, and other equipment they have. If you’re new to the gym, the equipment can be intimidating at first. The good news is that they normally always offer a complimentary orientation in order to get you started.
Get Your Sweat on At Home
If you don’t like the gym or just can’t make it there, it’s easier now than ever to exercise without even leaving your house!
Websites and Apps – There are websites and apps with a number of different workouts that require little to no equipment. You can try out some sunrise yoga, ab workouts, personal training sessions, or my personal favorite if you’re short on time – the “7 Minute Workout”. Simply go online or to the app store on your device and find one that appeals to you.
Invest In New Home Cardio – Many newer models of home cardio machines (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, etc.) have “classes” built in, so if you really love the motivation you get from a class-like atmosphere, the machine brings it to you in the comfort of your own home!
Treadmill Variety – If you have a treadmill at home, it can offer a number of options – walking, power walking, walking with hand weights (start with no heavier than 1 lb.), running, and intervals. Interval training can help you build endurance quickly and is surprisingly easy! Can’t stand running? How about for 30 seconds! Do this a few times with fast walking in between and you’ve given yourself a great workout.
Entertain Yourself – I know that working out in your home on a machine can sound boring, but you can easily liven it up by blasting some energizing music, listening to your favorite podcast, watching sports, or catching up on the Bachelor.☺
What are you waiting for? Now get out there and move!