Winter is around the corner and the drop in temperature and shorter sunlight hours has a huge effect on the workout habits that we’ve built up over the summer months. Staying motivated to maintain our training routine is challenging, but not impossible. So, it’s time to get a little savvier about how we approach training to keep that consistency over these cold and dark months.
Just get moving
Especially at this time of year, we need those mood boosting endorphins that we get from exercising, so just get moving! In addition, exercising has been found to boost your body's serotonin
, norepinephrine and reduce your body's stress response to help induce that natural state of calm leading to the hectic festive period. Furthermore, embracing the outdoors when exercising has been found to be more beneficial in improving patients with mild depression
, compared to indoor and sedentary equivalents.
Switch things up
The weather may be bleak, but this could be the ideal time to switch up your training routine to make it a little more fun. If the thought of an intense and gruelling workout fills you with stress and fear, you're probably more likely to skip it. Don't be afraid to dial back the intensity of a workout especially if you are fairly new to exercising. According to research
, the pleasure experienced during moderate-intensity activity took a nosedive when the intensity became very vigorous. The research also revealed that if the intensity is self-selected rather than imposed on by another person, there’s greater tolerance to higher intensity levels. All the more reason to listen to your body and own your workout. Opt for that feel good factor when choosing something to motivate you if you're not feeling too pumped to train. Even better, buddy up, grab a friend and journey through the winter months with some company. The social and fun side of working out is great, making it easier to commit to.
Especially if you are running outside, stay visible. With the days getting darker quicker, make sure you include some hi-vis wear to your training gear, so cars, cyclists and pedestrians can see you. Whether you are working out in a studio, gym or park, take the time to warm up properly first. The cold weather can leave your muscles and mind feeling stiff and sluggish. Warming up may not only help prevent injury, but primes your body for better articulation, movement range and coordination, which will increase your workout performance.
Don’t wait until the New Year
It’s at this time of year when we so often get sucked into the ‘festive spirit’ to the demise of our workout routine. December spells the beginning of a month long binge of Christmas dinners, mince pies and celebratory chocolates justified by, “…well it is Christmas…”. Just as with most things, setting out a plan to achieve your goals is a great way to stay motivated. Instead of waiting for New Year’s resolutions, set your goals now, whether it’s to feel better about yourself, change your body or even de-stress. Once those goals are set, create a plan to get there. Even just adding your workout days in your calendar will give those sessions more importance. More from the Journal