When winter hits, it can be tempting to trade outdoor runs for Netflix marathons and burpees for burgers. The days get shorter, the mornings get colder, and naturally, we all want to get into hibernation mode. But, while there’s a time and place for comfort food and cozy nights, that doesn’t mean you need to abandon your fitness regime altogether.
After all, it would be a shame to lose all the strength and fitness you’ve gained in the warmer months. Plus, summer bodies are made in winter! So. keeping up your fitness regime is a great way to make sure you look and feel your best when the sunshine returns (and, right now!)
The good news is, there’s a few simple hacks that can help working out in winter feel like less of a chore. Here, personal trainer and motivation coach Lauren Irvine shares her top tips for staying fit and healthy during the colder months.
Remember the benefits
“Chilly mornings and shorter days aren’t as motivating as those sunny summer ones, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose to put your health first,” says Lauren. In fact, exercise becomes even more important during those colder months, bringing a multitude of benefits to beat the chill.
“We’ve all experienced those dreaded winter blues at some point or another, and exercise is a proven way to lift your mood and increase your focus as well as keep you feeling confident and happy thanks to those exercise-induced endorphins,” says Lauren. Plus, getting active can help keep those dreaded winter colds at bay, too. Regular exercise throughout winter can also boost your immune system,” explains Lauren.
On those chilly mornings where all you want to do is dive back under your duvet, you don’t want to have to think too much! By doing a few simple tasks the night before, you can make it as easy as possible for yourself to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. “Having your gym gear and bag laid out and ready to go the night before will save you from rummaging in the darkness to find a matching pair of socks,” says Lauren. You could even take it a step further by sleeping in your activewear — that way, all you need to do is pop on your shoes and run out the door.
Lauren also recommends adjusting your sleep schedule to account for the earlier mornings. “If you’re having to get up earlier than usual to get your morning workout in, make sure you go to bed slightly earlier so you don't compromise on your sleep!” Your morning self will thank you!
Add some novelty
If there was ever a time to shake up your workout routine, it’s winter! By keeping things fresh and interesting, you can ignite your motivation even on the toughest days.
“Trialling a new gym with exciting classes, booking in with a personal trainer or having an exercise buddy are all ways to improve your chances of getting that gym session in, even when all you feel like doing is rugging up and watching Netflix!” says Lauren. And, if all else fails, a brand new set of activewear or pair of training shoes can always get you more excited to work out.
Don’t always rely on motivation
We all have times when we just don’t feel like working out, especially when it’s cold outside. It’s completely normal — after all, motivation isn’t a limitless resource, it’s finite. But, when our motivation fails us, that’s when habits and accountability step in to save the day.
“Creating habits and routines that make it easier and more enjoyable for you to go and train in the cooler months are super important for staying on track when the winter frost hits,” Lauren says. “Little things like getting up as soon as your alarm goes off, setting your heater so it turns on 30 minutes before you wake up, booking into a group fitness class with a strict no last-minute cancellation policy are all things that will encourage you to get up and get moving!”
Keep it simple
You don’t always have to spend hours in the gym to keep up your fitness regime in winter. On those days where you’re really pressed for time (or, just can’t bring yourself to leave the house), you can still get in a great workout from the comfort of your home or office. It’s all about picking the right exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.
“Sometimes simple is best and as long as you incorporate resistance training alongside some cardiovascular exercises, you’re ticking all the boxes,” says Lauren. “A couple of great exercises you can do at home (whilst still watching Netflix!) are bodyweight squats, alternating lunges, pushups (either on your knees or toes) paired with some star jumps, high knees, and a few burpees to warm up that body!”
By stocking up on a few exercise workout essentials like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a skipping rope, you can get in a solid workout no matter where you are. Often, you’ll find that just getting started is the hardest part. But, once you actually begin, you’ll find that it’s nowhere near as bad as you thought it would be — and maybe even start to enjoy it!