Do you need to change your fitness routine in winter?
As the weather gets colder, it becomes more and more difficult to leave the comfort of your warm, cosy bed and even harder to find the motivation to exercise. Add to that the fact that chunky winter clothes are much more forgiving than singlets and shorts, and you’d be forgiven for falling off the fitness bandwagon. To help combat this, I had a chat to Fernwood Fitness Exercise Physiologist, Ashley Ikin, to find out the best tips for staying fit in winter.
Why is it harder to stay fit in winter?
“The winter months always seem harder to get active compared to the rest of the year. The daylight hours get shorter, and really, it’s just cold,” Ashley explains. She adds that as the weather gets colder it’s much easier to tell yourself it won’t matter if you miss a workout, or it’s okay to indulge in comfort foods as you’re only thinking short-term. Ashley also tells me it’s not just our physical health that can suffer in winter, “In terms of mental health, we see increases in symptoms of depression throughout winter, and with seasonal winter depression strongly associated with increased appetite, decreased physical activity and hypersomnia, winter can create a very vicious negative cycle in relation to health and fitness.”
What are your top three strategies for staying fit in winter?
Routine – set an exercise routine and stick with it! Your health and fitness goals can’t take a back seat just because it’s colder outside. These are important things we need to schedule into our days, they can’t be easily turned down. Try to include something new in your schedule – try a new class or set some new targets to work towards during winter to keep your interest and motivation up!
Accountability – line up a workout buddy – having a friend or family member exercise with you is a great way to keep yourself accountable, and could also be some friendly competition to keep your workout intensity up! Another great idea is investing in a personal trainer over winter. It’s their job to safely push you each session with exercises that’ll help keep you motivated and focussed.
Focus – don’t lose sight of your goals – remember, summer bodies are built in winter! Hold on to what you want to achieve, whether it’s a spring fun run, or to fit back into that bikini when the weather starts warming up. Write it on the fridge, make yourself a vision board, set named alarms on your phone, get creative! Whatever it takes, even just something small to remind you and keep you focused, could make all of the difference.
Do you need to change your exercise routine in winter?
Surprisingly, Ashley reckons the only thing that should change about your exercise routine in winter is the location. “I am a self-confessed wuss in winter, but even though the minus degrees might be a huge barrier for me personally, that is not going to stop me from reaching my goals and keeping myself healthy. Instead of taking an early morning run outside, I might change it to a gym. I’ve scheduled that time in my day for me to work out and do something positive for my mind and body, [so] I’m not going to miss it for the world.”
So there you have it guys, as tempting as hot chocolates, lazy days in bed and binge-watching Netflix can be when it’s cold outside, maintaining your fitness routine is essential for your physical and mental health. And it means you won’t be on the back foot come summertime!
Do you find it hard to stay fit in winter? How do you stay motivated?