As the winter days drag on and on, and temperatures seem to drop further and further, exercise may become harder and harder to enjoy. It's at this time of the year that we all can empathize with the big bear who hibernates through winter to conserve energy. Unfortunately, our bodies DON'T hibernate and we continue to eat and drink, just as we do during the warmer months…or maybe even more. As a result, staying active can be even more important to one's health during the winter.
Although the cold, dark days may not be calling you out of bed to get to the gym, maybe these simple tips will help you enjoy exercise, even when temperatures seem unbearable:
- Find a Workout Partner: If you made a New Year's resolution to be healthier, you may feel your resolution fading. Buddy up with a friend and help one another stick with your resolutions by working out together. It will make it more fun and enjoyable, you'll feel more accountable for each others' success, and most importantly, you'll reap the healthy benefits of pushing one another to stick with your program.
- Set a Goal: Set a goal to reach by a specific date in spring. Maybe you want to lose ten pounds by March 21st, the spring equinox. Maybe you want to gain some muscle. Or maybe, you want to be able to run three miles without running out of breath. Whatever your goal is, setting one will give you something to strive for, to be accountable for, and better yet, give you purpose to your exercising.
- Schedule Adjustments: Just because you love to exercise in the morning during the summer doesn't mean that you might like it as much in the winter. Forcing yourself to do something at a time of day that isn't enjoyable won't help matters. Adjust your schedule so that you are more apt to workout as seasons change.
- Find a Winter Sport You Love: If the gym is completely unappealing, and you are more of an outdoors exerciser, then you may very well want to take up a winter sport. Sports such as down-hill skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing, are all great for staying in shape and burning extra calories. Or, if you like team sports, sign up for an ice hockey league. Try one or two of these until you find something you enjoy.
- Seasonally Appropriate Gear: If you are still wearing summer weight workout gear, you may be making it more painful than necessary. Make sure that you are wearing winter appropriate gear so that the chill doesn't feel as painful as it needs to.
How do you keep enjoying exercise in the winter? Have you done any of these to keep you interested?
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