Maintaining your exercise routine in summer is easy – days are long, the weather is great and the buzz of the season makes you feel more energetic. It gets tougher in winter though: unless your entire exercise regime is executed in an enclosed window free gym, you could find exercising a lot less fun. For one, getting up early in the dark is not great at all. Here are some ideas to keep you motivated and in shape this winter.
Don't let it slip throughout the winter!
Staying fit is the easy part – progressing from out of shape to in shape is where the difficulty is. Don't fall into the trap of dropping your exercise regime in winter, only to struggle picking up the pace in spring – it's just not worth it. You're also much less likely to succumb to winter illnesses if you're fit and healthy. Yes, motivation is tougher to maintain in winter but that's a small obstacle compared to the mountain of regaining fitness after several months of no exercise. So...
Take a dip in the pool
Swimming is one of the best means to a healthy and fit body. With the big range of heated, indoor swimming pools in most cities you have no excuse – go for a swim. You're protected from the elements while doing so and besides, you can pump up your fitness with a fat-burning, muscle-building regime in the pool. If you're worried that laps in the pool are just boring, don't fret – practice interval workouts that vary the pace of swimming through the lengths and keenly time your laps to work towards a goal, this will help you keep it on the boil.
Outdoors exercising in winter
You don't necessarily want to hang out indoors right through the winter, and sunshine is the key to eliminating the winter blues – so make sure that despite the cold you still do some activities outside. Wear your tracksuits for women (or men) and get out to do some exercises. Dressing up to get in the mood for working out is said to assist some people to work out. There is also solid medical evidence that you need a decent daily dose of Vitamin D, so spending at least some time outside is important. Much of your summer fitness routine can be maintained during winter too – it may be chilly, but you can still jog, hike or practice yoga outdoors in winter.
There's also a big plus to winter in many regions – snow. Whether it's skiing or snowboarding, you can have stacks of fun while exercising in the snow. Plan it and add some adrenaline pumping effort and you'll be surprised at how snow based leisure activities can really boost your fitness. In fact you can take winter sports very seriously indeed – how about building your summer fitness routines around competing in winter sports when the season arrives?
Staying warm while outside
A lot of what makes exercise enjoyable, and healthy, is the experience of being in the fresh air. This poses a problem in winter though, as it's likely to be very cold while you exercise. It is obvious that exercising while feeling freezing cold is a bad idea that can undo a lot of the good you're doing. Yet there are some excellent options for staying warm.
First, check whether there are additional factors affecting the temperature – don't underestimate wind chill for example, and don't get caught up in rainy weather. It also helps to wear several thin layers, such as light compression wear including compression socks, bottoms and tops. For the coldest days, a compression jacket is the ticket for staying warm and aiding in your fitness efforts.
Keeping your motivation
It may be a bit harder than in summer, but staying motivated through your winter exercise regime is not much different. If you're a lone ranger through your summer fitness regime, winter might be the time to change that. Joining an exercise group at the gym or a running club can really help to keep you motivated or if you can, try to get your family involved in exercising. Many workplaces have exercise clubs or on-site gyms that can be a great alternative to commuting to a public gym in the cold of winter.
Keep to your goals – whether they are set around a particular body weight, lap times or some other criteria. Goals are what help us benchmark our degree of fitness. It is also important to keep to consistent schedules, planning specific times to exercise at consistent intervals is especially helpful when the draw of bright sunshine and warm weather is not there to motivate you.