Thursday, December 12, 2013

Staying Motivated to Exercise in the Winter

As the temperature outside continues to drop and remind us all of what time of year it really is, it is important to remember to stay motivated and keep up with our exercise routines even when we want to hibernate.  It can be so difficult to want to get outside and exercise or hit the gym when there is only limited daylight hours and it is so cold and snowy.  So how can we stay on track without boring ourselves to tears through the winter months?  If you are having trouble staying on track here are a few tips and tricks to try out:

  1. Invite a friend.  It has been said that an exercise routine is much more enjoyable with company, and I agree 100% with that!  Not only does inviting a friend help keep you motivated and interested longer but it also will help hold you accountable to actually exercise.  Try inviting a few close friends to join you in your activities or even try forming your own exercise or walking/running group.  It is much easier to stay focused and in the groove when others are along for the ride.
  2. Change up the routine.  Easy enough. So, why is this so hard for some of us to follow?  Because we are creatures of habit.  We get into a routine, we like it, stick with it for a while and than get bored, bored, bored.  Exercise soon becomes a cumbersome chore and soon you find yourself laid up on the couch curled up with your favorite blanket waiting for spring.  Change up your routine to keep it engaging and interesting.  Take a hike, go snow shoeing, skiing, ice skating, or sledding.  What ever it takes to mix things up and keep you interested and going is the main focus.  Don't let boredom be what holds you back.
  3. Mix up indoor and outdoor activities.  As much as I like the gym and the workout I can get from there it is also essential to get outdoors and get some fresh air.  After being cooped up inside all day during working hours it is refreshing to go burn off some calories and use our muscles outside.  Try to incorporate at least a couple of times a week some outdoor activities in your routine to keep things interesting as well.  Your body will thank you, your mind will thank you and so will your lungs as they are invigorated with tons of fresh air.   
  4. Take a class.  Have you always wanted to check out the new yoga or pilates place down the road but just never got around to it?  Now is the perfect time to check out some of your communities exercise classes.  They are offered at all different times and days throughout the week so it shouldn't be to difficult to find one that will fit into your schedule.  Not only will it be fun but you will also get to meet new people.  It's a win-win situation!
  5. Find a source of inspiration.  Nothing motivates us more than finding a good source for our inspiration.  Maybe it is a goal you set for yourself to meet, a personal mentor, a favorite quote, a vacation you are planning or you just want better overall health.  What ever your motivation is, it can become an instant inspiration to help you stay focused on maintaining your health and fitness goals.  Keep a journal, or make up an inspiring pin board filled with beautiful pictures and motivating quotes and put it in a highly visible place to remind you of your goals and to help keep you on track.
Listed above are just a few tips to help get you through the winter time blues when it comes to staying motivated to exercise.  Actually, these tips can be used anytime throughout the year but I find them especially helpful in the winter when I don't necessarily want to do much besides sit by the fireplace.  Try a few out and see what best suits your needs and goals.  The reward - Great health!

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