There are lots of great things to look forward to in winter; pumpkin spiced lattes, a new pair of leather boots, the lead up to Christmas! Going out to exercise on the other hand? Not so much.
It can be more difficult than any other time of the year to leave the warmth and comfort of your bed first thing in the morning, when the colder, darker days set in. Leaving your home to fit in the chance to exercise then feels that much more difficult. The sight of grey skies and damp windows from indoors make the desire to go out for a much needed walk, run, gym session or spin class, less and less appealing.
But we are all too aware of how important it is to remain active, with the aim of 30 mins of exercise per day. What's more, exercise, fresh air and being surrounded by nature supports our mental heath, allowing us to unwind and destress, which is probably something we could all benefit from. While this can come so naturally in the warmer months , in the winter there just seem to be too many reasons not to leave the house or exercise at all!
Here are 5 inspiring ideas to help keep your fitness on track, even when it's cold (dark and wet) outside.
We are much more likely to do things if they are easy and require very little thought. Author of the brilliant Atomic Habits James Clear, eloquently writes that the basis of forming a new habit with intention to become daily practice, starts with creating as least resistance as possible. Prepare your gym bag, clothes to work out in, yoga mat, trainers, beforehand and leave them in an obviously noticeable place, ready for as soon as you need them- by the door, beside your bed or desk. Plan your meals around your activity, such as a shake or leftovers from the freezer, so there is less to think about for breakfast, mid-day or dinner, making it that much easier (and fewer excuses against) to get on with your exercise.
Get Pumped- with some upbeat music
I actually have a playlist on my Spotify app called Get Pumped for this exact reason- to get me feeling pumped and ready to move my body. Whether its for a brisk walk, jog, run or session at the gym, music has an incredible ability to set the tone and prepare us mentally to change our state and become grounded in the moment. Chose songs that have an upbeat tempo and rhythm that you can marry your steps to. Once the music hits your ears, you will automatically want to move to the beat and work your muscles. Spotify has some great ready to go playlists to get you started, but there are lots of other apps or devices you can use. Beyonce is always on my playlist, but podcasts or radio shows are also a great way to do some immersive listening while on the go!
Tell a friend
If you are just getting starting out on your health and fitness journey, want to try out a new class or have just signed up to the gym, it can sometimes feel a little daunting. You're not sure what to do or think you'll get bored going alone? Why not get a friend involved to join you whether its a walk or to buddy up for an indoor spot of badminton, squash or swim. Motivate and help each other make the most of it and hold each other accountable, to help motivate you to continue the activity while also enjoying one another's company. Win, win!
Make it work for you
If you don't like running, don't run. If you are not a morning person and prefer to do something later in the day, plan your walk or gym session later in the day or after work. If you work from home, there is so much flexibility you can take advantage of, to make it easier and more manageable for you, so plan activity at a time that suits your day. We all know that moving our bodies is so beneficial to good health, but that doesn't mean there is only one way to do things. Not sure what you like, do some research, ask friends what they do, go and see a PT at your local gym for a free tour, try something new and see what you think.
Do a home workout instead!
If you really can't bear to go outside, do a homework out instead using the countless apps and YouTube videos now available from yoga and pilates to HIIT workouts for all ages and abilities. If you have life commitments or don't fancy going out in the pouring rain or frosty cold, a home workout is a fantastic way to keep your body and mind active and can be just as good as a workout you might do outside.