Q: With the cold approaching, it’s harder to drag myself to the gym. How do I stay motivated to exercise in winter?
For people who love to ski, skate and play indoor sports, maintaining your physical fitness in the winter is NBD. But if you’re the type who likes to run outside or get to a gym, it can become a challenge. A lack of immediate fitness goals (ahem, no pressing reason to put on a bathing suit), lethargy and drastic Canadian winter temps can all put a freeze on your motivation.
But fitness is a lifelong partner, not just a summer fling. While I find people gearing up for the summer in early spring, the same zeal should be reserved for the winter months. Exercise is integral in the winter: it has the power to help improve mood, boost energy levels, and prepare your body to get the most out of any winter sports, and prevent injury. A healthy diet is key, too. Stock up on these winter weight loss foods.
Now you know why you should prep for your winter body just as much as your summer one. Here are three simple ways to maintain your fitness level in the winter.
1. Adopt the buddy system
I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you train with a friend, you usually get a lot more accomplished. Why? It’s because you’re being held accountable. If you are working out with someone who has similar goals, you will get those extra two reps done, stay on the treadmill for an extra 10 minutes, and do that extra set of planks because it turned into a friendly competition. Find a workout buddy through your work or social network, or through a social media community.
2. Pencil it in
Creating a set routine isn’t easy — we all have those crazy days where fitness takes a back seat to work and family commitments. That’s why it’s important to schedule your workouts. I look to business professionals for inspiration: they’ll train despite their hectic schedules because they make appointments for their workouts and honour them as they would any other obligation. Plus, we’ve got 13 fun ideas for making the most out of winter fitness.
3. Plan Ahead
It’s noble to set a fitness goal, but it helps to break it down into steps. Keep your lofty goals in mind, but in the meantime, focus on the coming month, week, day, and finally, your current workout. And don’t forget to have a backup plan. On days you’re feeling especially unmotivated, you can fall back on these exercises. For example, if you’re not up to strength training at full capacity, try a simple body weight exercise with six moves consisting of one minute of work, a one minute break and five reps. This will help you maintain your fitness levels, so you can ace your next workout. And, after your workout, don’t forgot to take care of your skin – it needs a little extra TLC during winter.
Peter Levidis is a certified athletic therapist, sportspecialists.ca