It’s so much easier to be active in the warm weather months. You can simply lather on the sunscreen and head outdoors. No big winter coats; no battling ice and snow. In the winter, with fewer daylight hours and the cold, it’s so much harder to stay motivated — and so much easier to curl up on the couch in your favorite cozy sweater and drink hot chocolate by the roaring fire. But just because that’s what you feel like doing doesn’t mean you should do it. Well, not all the time anyway, and definitely not in place of your regular workouts!
I hate the cold, and I loathe “falling back,” even if it does give me one extra hour of precious sleep. To me it’s never worth losing that hour of daylight. And the cold? Forget it! I’ve never been a cold weather person. The two years I lived in Northern California spoiled me for life. It was the perfect combination of mild summers and mild winters. But now that I live in the Northeast, I’m battling cold winters and snow like much of the country. Getting out of a warm bed in the morning is all that much tougher when you’re faced with a run in cold weather or when you know you have to warm up the car to make the ride to the gym tolerable. Throwing on warm pants and a coat, and driving to the gym in sleet or snow, are just a few more barriers that make the gym sound less appealing and the couch sound like the best place on earth.
But even though it’s harder to stay motivated in the winter, it is possible. There’s no need to let all of your progress slide, so here are a few tips I’ll be implementing now that we’re getting into the cooler months of the year. May they keep you motivated, too!
10 Ways To Stay Motivated When It’s Cold Out 1 of 11
Need help busting a move when you'd rather be busting into pumpkin pie? Read on for 10 ways to get motivated this fall!
Buy Something Cozy 2 of 11
Get something cozy to help you battle the cold weather, and I'm not just talking a cute sweater. Invest in a couple of pieces that will truly help you battle the weather and brave outdoor workouts. If you're a runner, make sure you're stocked up on running tights, a jacket, and a hat that will keep you warm. Something as simple as knowing you'll be plenty warm while you're out jogging in the winter can get you back on the street when cold weather blows in.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
Get Outside 3 of 11
Getting outside and into the sun can be a great motivator and energizer. Studies show that getting in the sun can combat depression, and spending time in nature can energize you. So bundle up in that new running jacket and head outside at least once a day. Even if it's just a brisk 10-minute walk, it'll help keep you in the habit of exercising outside. Plus, you want to be ready for that Turkey Trot, don't you?
Photo credit: sunchild123, Flickr
Do Something Summer 4 of 11
When it's 30 degrees and snowing, it definitely doesn't feel like bikini season. But keep your swimsuit handy and keep your motivation moving by doing a typical summer workout, like swimming. Sure, your tan has faded, but jumping in the pool is a great reminder of summer bliss. Plus, it's a great workout all year long, even if you're forced to blow-dry your hair so it doesn't turn into an ice helmet when you head back out into the cold.
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council, Flickr
Sign Up For A Spring Race 5 of 11
Whether it's a 5K or a marathon, sign up now for an event in the spring. It'll keep you looking forward to the warmer months, plus having a goal on the horizon will keep you moving now.
Photo credit: Delany Dean, Flickr
Embrace Winter Workouts 6 of 11
Don't fight winter, make it work for you! Now's the time to hit the slopes and take advantage of snow. Try your hand at snow skiing or snowboarding. If you're not into extreme sports, try cross-country skiing, which is a full-body workout. Even sledding with the kids is a workout when you're hauling sleds up and down hills, or enjoy building a snowman with the kids! Just make sure you're properly outfitted so you enjoy the snow workouts — cold, wet feet are an instant buzz kill.
Photo credit: Skistar Trysil, Flickr
Listen To Summer Songs 7 of 11
Remember Seasonal Indulgences 8 of 11
The winter months are filled with temptations, from pumpkin pie to hot chocolate to your grandma's special egg nog. But maintaining your workout schedule makes it that much easier to indulge in your favorite seasonal sensations without having to go up a pant size!
Photo credit: browniesfordinner, Flickr
Yard Work Counts 9 of 11
If you're having trouble getting active, remember that your workouts don't have to be at the gym to count. Raking leaves and shoveling snow are arguably the toughest fall and winter chores you can do. They take considerable effort and strength, and totally count as workouts!
Photo credit: David Armano, Flickr
Think New Year 10 of 11
You always set those New Year's Resolutions, but why not get an early start? Help keep yourself motivated throughout the late fall and early winter months by considering how ahead of the ballgame you'll be when you've maintained your level of fitness and weight throughout the holiday season. Maintaining is way better than starting from scratch, and you'll be kicking butt during group exercise classes that first week of the new year!
Photo credit: iStockphoto
Focus On The Future 11 of 11
Remember that winter is temporary! Eventually you'll have to retire those baggy sweaters in exchange for swimsuits and shorts that are less forgiving. Avoid that push to "get ready for bikini" season by staying fit all year round!
Photo credit: t-dubisme, Flickr