The SparkPeople Blog

Stick-With-It Winter Workout Tips

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/3/2012 6:00 AM   :  17 comments   :  14,267 Views

When the temperature drops, so can your motivation to get outside and get moving.  So how do you resist the temptation to stay curled up under a blanket until spring arrives?  According to a poll of SparkPeople.com members, 76% of exercisers have a hard time staying motivated in the winter.   
 
I’m no exception, especially when it gets dark so early. But keeping a consistent routine helps me avoid holiday weight gain and deal with stress during this chaotic time of year. 
 
If you are dreading the cold, you can't always blame the weather.  Your attitude and approach go a long way, too. Winter doesn’t have to be a time to abandon your regular workout routine if you’ve got a good plan in place.  Here's how to stay comfortable exercising outside—and adjust your plan when getting outdoors just isn’t feasible. 
 
Winter-Proof Your Workouts for Maximum Results!

Weatherize Your Body with the Right Clothes
Outdoor exercise is no fun when your fingers and toes are freezing (or when you’re bundled up like Randy in "A Christmas Story"). Learning how to layer properly with the right kinds of clothes (breathable yet insulating) will allow you to concentrate more on your workout and less on the temperature around you.  Layers + Coach Nicole’s must-have accessory for winter workouts will keep you comfy all season long.
 
Be Smart about Safety
Although you don’t want to use weather as an excuse not to exercise, it’s important to be smart.  Completing a workout should never be a matter of life and death—no matter how committed you are.  If you layer up, watch the forecast, and follow these winter workout precautions, you'll be safe during most of the season.  For those times when it’s too cold to be outside, consider mixing it up with an indoor workout.  Check out Coach Nancy’s cold weather exercise tips for more ideas. 
 
Excuse-Proof Your Routine
Just because you can’t take your regular walk outside today doesn’t give you an excuse to be a couch potato.  For those days when an outdoor exercise isn’t an option, have a backup plan!  With the right attitude and mix of exercises, winter can actually be a fantastic time to mix up your workouts, get creative and even reignite your love of fitness by trying new, fun activities (indoors or out).  If all else fails, embrace the cold instead of fighting it; some of winter's unique activities also melt mega calories
 
Beat the Blues
Many people experience a case of the "winter blues" (characterized by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy) this time of year.  Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to both prevent the blues from coming on and get yourself back to normal if they’re already here.  There are easy ways to stay healthy and happy despite the weather outside, everything from spending time outside to focusing on a healthy diet.  A less-than-peppy mood may be typical in this season, but for some people, cold weather and lack of sunshine bring on more than the usual winter blahs. It can bring on a form of clinical depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you think you might have SAD, find a health professional who can help you treat it.    
 
Instead of dreading the cold weather, consider it a time to get creative with new workouts and find different ways to challenge yourself.  Use the change of seasons as a chance to change up your usual fitness routine.  That way you can continue working toward your goals and seeing progress, regardless of what the thermometer reads this season! 
 
How do you keep yourself prepared and motivated for winter workouts? What is your favorite way to stay active when it's cold outside?


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Comments

  • 17
    I love playing with my daughter outside during the winter time: sledding, snowball fights, making snow angels, and of course shoveling snow are all fun ways to get outdoor activity, but I also will exercise indoors or go to the gym. - 12/15/2013   7:34:42 AM
  • WHIPPETWALKER
    16
    I like the winter because the air is cleaner and easier to breath .I have asthma so smog in the summer is hard on me.. We live in an apartment (Canada) and the dog must be walked. Dress for the weather- lots of layers, hat, boots, very warm gloves.If you keep moving you stay warm. The only time I get cold is waiting for a bus. LOL - 12/12/2013   12:07:27 PM
  • 15
    Getting out in cold weather is not my idea of fun. This Southern lady prefers a little warmth. Good thing there's a mall close to the house. - 12/12/2013   10:08:09 AM
  • VAINVT
    14
    Just south of Montreal, in Burlington, VT, I love winter, too. Part of the secret of a happy winter is having at least one sport and getting outside to enjoy the sun and the crisp air. It is so important to acclimate yourself as the weather turns colder - take walks, ski, ice skate, but enjoy nature's bounty. - 12/12/2013   7:29:37 AM
  • 13
    I've been doing really well this winter with finding ways to keep active. I've even begun to love winter swimming! (Indoors, of course, and it turns out the pool feels warm after you get in.)
    One major perk of the Pacific NW is being close to some legit mountains. My goal before spring is to spend at least one weekend checking out the XC ski trails on Mt. Hood. But most days we hit the gym or take our doggy for a walk - at a quicker pace to stay warm! - 12/11/2013   4:42:19 PM
  • 294BETSY
    12
    I get most of my exercise with Walk it Out on the Wii…it's jogging / walking in place to the music and gives me very active minutes with fitbit. Or, I'll mute the music and watch TV. - 12/11/2013   8:26:09 AM
  • DELLMEL
    11
    I love the winter time here because I just put on a little more pieces of clothing and get to walking. - 12/11/2013   4:53:07 AM
  • 10
    It becomes very cold here so it's almost impossible to go outside for a workout. Plus with ice and lots of snow it doesn't feel safe. I rather stay indoors to exercise :-) - 12/5/2012   3:38:53 PM
  • 9
    Great suggestions. Here in the pacific northwest it gets dark by 4:30 and a lot of us live in rural areas without much in the way of sidewalks and streetlights. The article made me realize that my workouts have been getting boring since they're down to mainly elliptical cardio and strength training.

    I'll be checking into some of the SparkPeople videos - that will help round out my workouts and reduce the boredom associated with the same cardio and weight training. - 12/5/2012   9:31:55 AM
  • 8
    Actually, I don't really have problems going out and doing outdoor stuff in Winter... on weekends. I love snowshoeing in the mountains in the cold sun, for instance. But during the week, going to work when it's dark, getting off work when it's dark, it's indeed hard to stay motivated. - 12/5/2012   1:55:20 AM
  • 7
    I live in Pensacola, Florida so today it was 75 degrees out and no problem. I hate cold weather. - 12/4/2012   7:04:36 PM
  • 6
    My two dogs need to go for walks whether it's summer or winter, so they keep me getting exercise. They each weigh about 75 lbs so they give me a workout. - 12/4/2012   6:48:45 PM
  • 5
    Thanks. Great ideas. - 12/4/2012   10:31:51 AM
  • 4
    Very encouraging, Thank-you. Looking forward to a better Winter. - 12/3/2012   1:46:46 PM
  • 3
    Good points to keep me moving. Thank you.

    Caddy - 12/3/2012   12:35:35 PM
  • 2
    Living in AZ, my task is to reverse engineer your great post so as to handle the summer heat. - 12/3/2012   9:56:36 AM
  • 1
    I love winter! It is easy for me to stay motivated as I stay active by cross country and downhill skiing and snowshoeing. I love being outdoors in the winter except if it is a -40 windchill. Even then I may still ski but will take more breaks. I am always praying for snow, LOL, so no SAD for me. - 12/3/2012   9:34:59 AM

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