Without the motivation from the warm sunlight, it can be hard to find the drive to exercise
Winter is here, and for those of us who don’t live down south, we are bracing for shorter days, colder weather, darker mornings, and brisk winds. For individuals who thrive doing outdoor exercise in the warmer months, these conditions can make it hard to find motivation and energy. Even for those people who love winter sports, the shorter days can make it hard to carve out time to squeeze in that exercise.
Here are 5 tips and strategies that will help you stay active during the winter:
#1: Take a walk during lunch
If you are someone who dreads the darkness of winter and finds themselves overcome by feelings of depression during the colder months, take advantage of the sunlight and focus on your mental health by going for a walk during your lunch break. Not only will you end the workday having completed your exercise, but also getting up and out of your seat and getting the blood moving mid-day will help your focus, energy, and happiness levels for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
#2: Sign up to a challenge
There is nothing to hold you to your word like a social responsibility. Sign up to an exercise challenge over the winter months to hold you accountable to your physical activity habits. There are squat, pullup, running, core strength, and flexibility challenges and more. Organize one of these with a group of friends or coworkers or join a social media group where members post about their progress and support each other along the way.
#3: Do morning or evening yoga at home
With the quiet darkness of winter and the desire to remain cozy and indoors, yoga offers a perfect option to participate in a calm, self-reflective workout from your own bedroom or living room. With thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to teaching yoga, you can make a routine of starting or ending your day with a yoga practice of your choice. Channels like Yoga with Adrienne offer sessions of every length, according to every need and theme.
#4: Join an outdoor exercise program
If you have never learned the skills needed to enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, hockey, or skating, now is the time to sign up for a class or program. Gain new skills, meet new people, and stick to a guided schedule where you know you will fit in some physical activity a few times a week.
#5: Focus on just putting on the workout clothes
Sometimes, the hardest thing is just getting started. Exercise psychologist Brandon Alderman suggests that one way to ensure you follow through with your exercise intentions is to set a goal of just getting into the workout clothes right when you wake up or right when you get home from work at least three days a week. With a specific and measurable goal, and an easy first step of just getting dressed, you are more likely to follow through with your intentions to get physical activity into your schedule.
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