Keeping Up Your Fitness Routine as the Weather Gets Colder
As winter’s chill spreads across the land, getting your running shoes on and hitting the open trail can seem like a pretty unappealing notion.
Even if your fitness routine is more indoors-based, you might find that the general drop in temperature leaves you feeling less passionate about heading over to the gym, and more passionate about curling up under a blanket on the couch.
Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping the fitness flame burning bright during the cold season.
Focus on Group Training
Even if you’re a lone ranger, there are certain benefits to training in a group which can really make a difference when motivation is running low.
The first benefit is accountability. If you’re a solo trainee and skip a planned workout, you’ll likely feel a bit guilty about it, but you won’t have to deal with the judgment of others. If you’re in a training group, however, you’re going to get an earful when you don’t turn up – and that’s generally for the best.
The second benefit to training in a group is morale. Winter is notorious for inspiring bouts of depression and general low mood, with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) being a well-known phenomenon. It just so happens that research has shown social interaction to combat depression effectively.
Do Shorter, More Intense Workouts
Summoning up the motivation to go for a half-hour jog isn’t so difficult on a mild summer morning, all things considered. It’s an entirely different story on a gusty winter day, with icy rain falling in buckets.
One good way of keeping your time outdoors to a minimum, while still getting an effective workout, is to trade your longer bouts of steady-state cardio for shorter high-intensity sprint sessions. Instead of spending 30 minutes exposed to the elements, you can dedicate 10 minutes to really working up a sweat. Not only will this shorten your workout times and help you stay warm in the cold, but research also suggests that HIIT sessions may amplify the health and fitness benefits of traditional steady-state cardio.
Focus on Activities Rather than Workouts
While conventional workouts are great and certainly shouldn’t be abandoned altogether, there is something to be said for getting your exercise as a side-effect of fun activities. In winter, when all chores and routines are going to seem dull and irritating, this is even more meaningful.
To give yourself that extra incentive for working out, consider setting up a regular sporting event with your friends, or else signing up for a fun class at your gym.
Racing for the goal in a game of football, or learning some new moves in a Zumba session, will barely feel like a workout, but your fitness will improve all the same. As if by magic.