What do you get when you combine lower temperatures, shorter days, a sprinkling of flu season, and a chance of wind chill? If you’re anything like us, you get a complete lack of motivation to work out. Winter’s a tough season for wellness. From discouraging weather patterns to holiday parties rich with our favorite comfort foods and cocktails, it’s simply harder to stay on track.
But it’s worth it to try. “If you take off a whole month, you basically have to start from scratch come the next month,” says Aaptiv trainer Candice Cunningham. “You’ve put in hard work all year long and if you just stop or break from your routine for awhile, you’re cutting yourself and your progress short.” Here are four ways to stay motivated to move even when it’s cold outside.
1. Start small. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t commit to your usual workout routine every week. From seasonal social engagements to winter storms to simply not feeling up to moving off the couch, there are plenty of legitimate excuses to skip exercise. But it’s important that you at least do what you can with the time you have. “If you can get in one or two workouts in a week, that’s still better than nothing,” says Cunningham.
Also, look at skipping the gym or that outdoor run as an opportunity to try new exercise styles or at-home workouts. “I love indoor workouts during the colder months,” says Aaptiv trainer Jaime McFaden. “Get the family involved and try plank challenges, burpee challenges — anything that will get you warm and moving instead of hibernating all season will help.”
2. Be prepared. If you’re feeling cooped up or normally prefer to exercise outside, by all means, take it outdoors! Just make sure you’re dressed for the part. “I am someone who loves to work out outdoors all year round,” says McFaden. “Buy the right gear for the season and it can make all the difference. When I run outside in the winter, I always make sure I have something covering my ears and layer on warmer workout clothes.” Here are more warm-weather clothing ideas.
3. Set new goals. One of our favorite ways to stay motivated and on top of our workouts is to always remember our goals. But it’s important to acknowledge how the changing seasons may affect those. “Make a new list of goals,” says Aaptiv trainer Rochelle Moncourtois. Be sure to consider the holidays too, and be realistic.. “Let yourself live a little,” she says. “Don’t miss out on all that holiday food. Instead just stay on top of your workouts, which will help prevent weight gain.”
If you’re stressed out or a generally lacking motivation, remember that working out can actually help with those feelings, explains Moncourtois. McFaden agrees, recommending you try a workout that touches on mental and physical health. “Do yoga or Pilates to connect with your mind and body and get a good sweat in indoors,” she says. “This is good for keeping the soul alive during the winter months.”
4. Find a workout partner. If you’re having a hard time making it to the gym, enlist the help of a friend or trainer to motivate you. “A workout buddy will hold you accountable and help make indoor or outdoor workouts more fun,” says Aaptiv trainer Kelly Chase. You don’t want to disappoint yourself (or someone else), and this way you’ll have someone to help you get off the couch and fit in those workouts despite the bad weather or a busy schedule.
(Photos via Getty)