Poll: Does the Weather Affect Your Motivation to Exercise?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  75 comments   :  27,127 Views

I used to think that my exercise routine was unaffected by the weather. In the summer, I'd make accommodations to deal with the heat (exercising outside in the evening or early morning, shortening workouts, drinking more water, etc.) In the winter, I'd add a few extra layers and head out to battle the elements. After about two weeks of a big change in temperature, my body got used to it and it was no big deal. I can't say I love running in a sauna or a blizzard, but those things never kept me from activity- until this year.

So far in my area, this winter has been more brutal than most. There has been lots of snow and freezing temperatures. In years past, I started training for our local 1/2 or full marathon in January. So whether I liked it or not, I quickly got used to running in less-than-ideal conditions. This year I'm not training for the race (still trying to get back up to speed from my running injury in the fall), so my motivation to go outside for a walk or run is basically zero. (One reason is because I'd have to run in the dark when my husband gets home from work to watch the kids.)

You'd think that if I'm not going outside to exercise, I'd accommodate by staying just as active inside. But there's something about exercising outside that provides motivation I just don't get from being indoors. Don't get me wrong, I'm still active. I walk or run on the treadmill, and do workout videos regularly. But I'm not exercising as much, and it's certainly not as enjoyable as it is when I can get outside. If I didn't focus on the good feelings I have after I'm done with a workout, it would be very easy to become sedentary at this time of the year.

Need a little motivation? Check out some ideas for Hot Winter Workouts and Smart Ways to Stay Active this Winter.

What do you do to keep yourself on track and continuing to work toward your goals when it's cold outside?

Is it hard to keep your motivation going during the cold winter months?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: fitness, motivation, poll, winter,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Work Out Anywhere: On-the-Phone Exercises


  • 25
    It is not the cold that gets me here in the North West but the rain. It can be cold as long as the sky is clear and the sun is out.... I am motivated. I am working on getting over the weather and just doing it - 2/1/2011   4:00:10 PM
    I used to let it affect me .... now I don't even think about it. And, frankly, I know that skipping one day can easily turn into two, then three, etc. As long as I have my IPod loaded with music, I'm ready!!!! - 2/1/2011   3:37:57 PM
  • 23
    I do miss my outdoor workouts, we too have had entirely too much snow and I'm fearful of falling...I would love to be able to run outside because there is no better feeling than what I experience upon finishing an outdoor workout!! Tingly skin, burning lungs and a sense of accomplishment for defeating the elements, nin can be duplicated indoors! - 2/1/2011   3:14:00 PM
  • 22
    I would much rather work out in the winter than in the summer. I hate exercising when it's hot outside, but i can always warm up when it's cold. - 2/1/2011   3:03:12 PM
  • 21
    I do not like exercising in the dark or the cold. In the summer I do not like exercising in the heat. In order to keep going I have joined Curves and do enjoy that so now the weather will not stop me. - 2/1/2011   2:47:38 PM
  • 20
    When it comes to exercise, I prefer cooler/colder weather vs. the "sauna". My inner "thermostat" doesn't like additional heat. However, my exercise IS affected by weather conditions. If it is exceptionally cold, windy, snowy or icy, then I do tend to seek the comfort of a warm house, a blanket, my sofa, and to hear the cat purring next to me. - 2/1/2011   2:08:09 PM
    I am absolutely affected by the weather. Especially if my house is cold in the morning. - 2/1/2011   2:00:43 PM
  • 18
    appropriately planned for today, as we see what is across the nation? -14 here inBillings MT today, -28 with wind, kids at school and I have the bad habit on these days of not wanting to get out of bed. Work from home and need to be my own motivator

    Thanks for sharing! - 2/1/2011   1:30:02 PM
  • 17
    Yes, old man winter really had me down during the month of December. I didnt want to go outside, let alone exercise. I just wanted to stay in office, go home, and lay around and watch tv. But I realized not only did he have me down, but all the work I had done in November was going in reverse, so I picked myself up. - 2/1/2011   1:16:31 PM
  • 16
    We must live near each other because here in New England, the snow just won't go away. Usually it snows and then melts pretty quickly, but it's just been stacked up for weeks. Today we're getting more. Even if I can't work up the motivation to get to the gym, I usually get in at least a couple 3-mile walks home from work per week, but right now walking home from work = dodging traffic. And my car is snow bound and the roads are bad so I'm not really getting out to the gym. This is a tough winter to get motivated! - 2/1/2011   12:51:13 PM
  • 15
    It's much harder to stay motivated when it is 100 degrees and 70% humidity. As a runner, I prefer the colder weather, especially if the sun is out. - 2/1/2011   12:45:36 PM
  • 14
    Give me -20 C, snow and ice over 30 C ANY DAY. - 2/1/2011   12:45:05 PM
  • 13
    Personally, I do not like the cold weather, period. To keep myself from sitting on the couch all winter (and believe me, I've done that too), I pack my backpack with my gym clothes and take it to work with me. At the end of my shift I change into my gym clothes at work and hit the gym on my way home from work. Changing into my gym clothes at work seems to help me... so far, so good! - 2/1/2011   12:05:49 PM
  • 12
    On the contrary - I LIKE working out in the winter. I'm cold, and I get to make myself warm! It's the SUMMER I can't bear. I wasn't well-equipped to deal with hot weather in the first place; now I have rosacea, and it's a nightmare. :-( - 2/1/2011   12:04:56 PM
    I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. - 2/1/2011   12:01:13 PM
  • 10
    I remind myself how much better I feel when I work out. I updated my iPod with new music to keep me going at the gym. I also added some group workout classes to my routine. Having other people around me keeps me going. But, don't get me wrong... I struggle with my motivation in the winter! - 2/1/2011   11:51:57 AM
  • 9
    It has in the past, seriously affected my exercise. But starting NOW it isn't going to anymore. I have made a decision that I am going to get fit THIS YEAR and since half the year (or more) the weather pretty much sucks, I'm going to just have to deal with it and press on! - 2/1/2011   11:49:33 AM
  • 8
    I'm a warm weather outdoors person, so I have to force myself to get to the gym or use one of the various workout DVDs. Hurry up spring !! - 2/1/2011   11:31:03 AM
  • 7
    I am really bad about not wanting to go outside when it is cold. I am getting better but is a struggle. - 2/1/2011   11:27:08 AM
  • 6
    The motivation is there but the opportunity to burn as many calories is not as much fun. Winter is my swim time so an hour in the pool is pretty good exercise but doesn't match a 2 hour bike ride. - 2/1/2011   11:26:33 AM
  • 5
    If I had that attitude, I would still be 27 pounds heavier. I started my weight loss on October 31st, and in Alaska that is basically winter. If I had let weather ruin my motivation I would not have lost any weight. If good weather is the indicator for motivation I would only work out about 3 months of the year (when we have the most awesome weather in the world here in Alaska)! So, you just find motivation in other places. Yes, I don't do a lot of outdoor activities but I do ice skate, sled, and hike. When I am not wanting to be outdoors I exercise to a plethora of workout DVDs, I go to Zumba classes, I ice skate indoors, and I find lots of things I can do inside. Go roller skating, find an indoor track, go to an indoor swimming pool. If anything, winter weather just gives me excuses to find all sorts of activities I can enjoy...no matter what the weather. - 2/1/2011   11:23:43 AM
  • 4
    I'm having a tough go of it this winter too because I love to walk/run outside. When I use the treadmill I pick a program I like to watch and walk through that as high as I can comfortably on incline and when commercials hit I boost up the speed and run. It's a mind game but it helps! I like to use the ipod too; especially during commercials.

    I also try to mix up my workout by adding in pilates 2x/week and stability ball 2x/week... this way here I don't get too bored doing the same thing. Good luck! - 2/1/2011   11:23:07 AM
  • 3
    HeyPink...ditto for me too.... - 2/1/2011   11:20:00 AM
  • 2
    It's -11 degrees outside right now and apparently only going to get worse! I HATE having to change into gym clothes, go work out, get hot, sweat, and then meet the freezing cold...and then be wet from a shower on top of all of that. Better to just make some tea and lounge in my bed with a couple blankets!

    Lol. Guess I'll have to find some motivation so winter doesn't beat me! ;-) Looking forward to reading the comments for some good tips! - 2/1/2011   11:11:02 AM
  • 1
    For me it is sunshine that acts as an energizer. Extreme heat or severe cold are harder, but not impossible. Sunshine, though is a huge boost! - 2/1/2011   10:52:17 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›