For some, keeping up with a consistent workout routine during the winter can be a bit more challenging than in summer, spring or fall.
Especially during the holidays, our schedules become packed with parties and mandatory family gatherings and of course, freezing temperatures tend to keep many of us cooped up inside for the season.
But just because the weather’s a bit more frightful and the motivational aspect of wearing a bathing suit to the beach has been temporarily removed from the equation doesn’t mean you should send your exercise routine into hibernation.
Your health is important all year long and exercise is an important part of maintaining your wellbeing.
Maybe fitness isn’t at the forefront of your mind during this time of year, but these five simple tips will help you find the time (even if it’s just a little) and willpower to keep your workout routine on track through the season.
1. Emphasize quality over quantity.
Maybe time isn’t on your side, but staying fit doesn’t require hours and hours of exercising. In fact, one study recently found that a single minute of intense exercise within an otherwise easy 10-minute workout can provide health and fitness benefits when performed three times per week. So, instead of stressing because you couldn’t make it to the gym for your usual one-hour workout, pinpoint a small gap in your busy schedule (even if it’s just five or ten minutes) and do what you can with the time that you do have.
2. Try a new type of workout.
If you’re struggling with a lack of motivation to get moving, it could just be that you’re bored. Reignite your enthusiasm by signing up for a class you’ve never tried before or implementing a new training program.
3. Exercise at home.
While you had no problem lacing up for a daily run around the park through summer and fall, perhaps now that the temperatures have dropped you’re not so much a fan of exercising outside. That’s OK, because while you’re waiting for the return of spring you can easily exercise inside the comfort of your own home. Try a bodyweight HIIT workout, Tabata training or jump rope cardio.
5. Look on the bright side.
Don’t let a lack of sunshine and chilly temps get you down. Channel positive thoughts to help increase your motivation. “Negative thoughts have a tendency to creep into our minds, especially when we ‘don't feel like’ doing a task,” says Dr. Simon Rego, Director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
“If you can catch, challenge and change these thoughts, you can often feel better about doing the task, as they are often distorted in unrealistic ways. (e.g., ‘I don't have time’ or ‘I am too tired’ can be challenged and changed into ‘Doing something quick and easy will make me feel better than doing nothing at all’ and ‘I always feel energized after I am done!’)