In the face of winter...
Don't let the cold steal your fit!
Summer practically begs you to grab your gym bag or throw on those running shoes and fly out the door. Winter, not so much. A drop in temperature can often go hand in hand with a decline in enthusiasm for our superbly mastered summer exercise regime.
So, how can we combat the cold, ignore the rain, and face the winter with an iron will and steely determination that helps us prioritise our fitness, no matter what the barometer reads!
Have the Right Kit
Bad weather or inappropriate clothing? If your activity of choice takes you outdoors, then as you would do in any other situation, you must dress to the weather. Running or power walking on a frosty cold winter’s morning is a refreshing way to start your day. It can be all the more pleasant if you have a suitable kit. Thermal leggings, tops, gloves, a hat or woollen headband will go a long way in ensuring your comfort and likelihood of repeating the experience.
If you are a gym-goer or attend an inside class, you may struggle with finding the motivation to leave the warmth of your bed or head in the direction of the gym on a cold winter’s evening. Why not treat yourself to some new gym gear? You never know. The investment and the thrill of your new gear may be just the motivation you need!
Set a Goal and Make a Plan
Setting yourself a goal can be the perfect way to ensure that your motivation stays right where it needs to be. Whether you enter an event, set a weight-loss or strength goal or decide to sign up for an organised challenge, having a goal means that your level of commitment is non-negotiable. If you fail to follow the plan, you won’t reach your destination – it is as simple as that. None of us likes to fail, so why not flip that fear of failure on its head and turn it into the fuel for your fire!
The internet has brought us many wonderful things. Not least of all is the plethora of free workout programmes available online. From yoga to bodyweight regimes, there is something for everyone, literally! The beauty of these offerings is that they take place in the comfort of your home, at a time of day that suits you. The downside, you still have to cook up the motivation to workout. But come on! How hard can it be?
Book a Class or Join a Club
It’s a great time to be a fitness fanatic; there are so many fun and exciting classes at our disposal. Barre, yoga, pilates, Zumba, tai chi (to name a few!) can be much more appealing than a cold, solo outdoor session of some kind. Most classes require that you book a spot, again, a non-negotiable commitment, except this one can often come with a cancellation fee if you are a no-show.
Winter is an excellent time for runners to join a running club and remove the risk of falling victim to a winter slump. There is nothing like the energy of a group to keep you focussed and motivated.
Find an exercise buddy; this is possibly one of the best motivation tools around. Working out, running, walking, swimming, whatever your tonic, having a buddy at your side is not only great for morale but transforms your practice into a social event and can become the meaningful catch-up you and your friend have been missing.
Remind Yourself Why You Do It!
If you need to pep-talk your body out of bed, try feeding it some of the best facts! Apart from reminding yourself of how great you will feel post-workout, think about those feel-good hormones, the ones that will help you fly through your day or immediately unwind after a stressful one. Exercise produces all the body’s good stuff, enables us to maintain a natural state of calm and generally, supports us to perform at our best. Pep-talk over!
Be Kind to Yourself and Your Body
A huge part of exercising is taking care of yourself; this means nourishing your body with good nutrition post-workout, eating well, stretching, taking rest days and getting enough sleep. If you fail to follow these basic rules, you’ll be short-changing yourself and negating the good you are trying to achieve.
If you are new to exercise and struggling to make a start, think about it like this. All it takes is one move, one decision to get out and do something. Don’t think about tomorrow or the rest of the week – those decisions aren’t yours to make right now. Breaking it down into bite-sized chunks is the best way to enjoy the process.
Do whatever works, but be sure to do it. You won’t regret it!