Your alarm goes off, and it’s still dark outside. You’re driving home from work, and it’s already dark again. Feeling motivated to exercise yet?
With shorter days and longer nights, it can be difficult to find the motivation to lace up your running shoes, let alone brave the colder temperatures outside. However, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your workouts throughout the winter months, as it’ll help boost your mood and keep your momentum going for when spring finally arrives!
Here are our tips for exercising during the winter:
Switch on that light!
Sometimes it’s best to get your workout out of the way first thing. There is a little more light in the morning, and it’s probably dark by the time you’re driving home at the end of the day. One helpful way to get out of bed is to turn on a bright light. It’ll be harder to roll over and hit snooze, as light suppresses melatonin levels (the hormone that helps regulate sleep). For the same reason that you should dim your lights in the evening to make it easier to fall asleep, is why you should switch on those bright lights or open your curtains when you’re waking up. Here are some other great ways to get you up and going first thing in the morning!
Download a good podcast or audio book to your iPod or phone.
If you’re looking forward to the next episode of your favorite podcast, or the next chapter in a book you’re listening to – you’ll be more likely to get up and go! Here is a fantastic list of 20 podcasts to try out, and you can download audio books for free through your local library using the Overdrive Media app on your phone.
Grab a winter workout buddy.
For some additional motivation, it’s helpful to have a buddy to call that might need a little help getting out the door as well. It will be easier to hold yourself accountable when a friend is planning to meet you, and you’ll feel safer jogging in the dark with someone you trust close-by.
Allow yourself to acclimate to colder temperatures.
It may take your body a little time to adjust to outdoor workouts, but just take it slow at first. Start your jog or bike ride a little slower, and work your way up to a normal pace. It’ll take your muscles a little longer to warm up in the cold and this will help reduce the risk of injury.
Wear a scarf, and save your nose!
You may notice that when you’re jogging outdoors in cold weather, it seems as though a faucet has been turned on through your nose. That’s because your body is producing more mucus inside the nostrils to keep everything moist from the dry air. To save your nose, wear a scarf or neck gaiter to breathe through. It’ll help keep the air more moist (from condensation), and in turn your sinuses will produce less mucus.
Drink, drink, drink!
Water, that is. Sometimes it’s not as obvious as in the summer, but your body is sweating under all those layers during your cold-weather workouts. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, be sure to drink before, after, and during your runs! If you have trouble drinking regular water, make it more tempting by adding some True Grapefruit to your bottle. It adds some flavor, which will make you more likely to keep sipping!
Change your clothes.
This may seem obvious, but sitting around in clothes damp from sweat, rain, or snow can cause more problems than just smelling bad. You’re more likely to get sick if you’re in the cold clothes for a long period of time, as it drops your core body temperature. Even if you don’t take a shower right away, be sure to change into something dry and warm.
Know when to stay indoors!
When wind chills drop below zero, or when conditions are icy, it’s probably best to just take your workout indoors. Even multiple layers just aren’t worth the risk of slipping and falling, or even getting frostbite! And besides, you can still do sit-ups and push-ups in the comfort of your own home.
It may be difficult to get outside to get your heart rate up this winter, but with these tips you may find yourself actually enjoying the cold! Then when temperatures start to warm up, you’ll be already going strong rather than starting from the beginning with your workout routine.
[Credit: “20 Podcasts you need to hear in 2015.” Entertainment Weekly.]
[Credit: Van Allen, Jennifer. “Winter Weather Exercise Tips.” Runners World.]
[Credit: “How to Prevent a Runny Nose in Cold Weather.” WikiHow.]
[Credit: Madden, Aemilia. “Stay Strong: How to Survive Working Out Through Winter.” Pop Sugar.]
[Credit: McMullen, Laura. “6 Rules for working out in cold weather.” Daily News.]
[Credit: “Exposure to Room Light before Bedtime Suppresses Melatonin Onset and Shortens Melatonin Duration in Humans.” U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.]