It can be very difficult during the colder months to stay motivated to stay on track. Seasonal depression is a very real thing and can deter you from maintaining your fitness goals. Fear not! There are several ways that you can skirt these mood changes and keep yourself going in the right direction.
1. Mental Health Benefits
There are several mental health benefits to working out. Exercise at any time helps boost your mood and recalibrate your brain chemistry. Endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, or feel good chemicals are released during exercise and this helps brighten your day! When the seasons change and it starts to get colder, it is very tough to want to continue with fitness. One easy way to help that is to realize that if you start to become a bit lazy, your mood will be adversely affected. With the cold comes holidays inside and great times with family. Trying to internalize this and realizing that your fitness can make these times even greater can be a big push in continuing forward with your exercise routine and maintaining your fitness in the cold!
With the cold months comes hibernating, staying inside most days, and sometimes a feeling of loneliness. This is the perfect time to find a new workout buddy or try a new class at the local gym! We are all trying to combat the mood swings that can happen with earlier sunsets and harsher conditions outside. No one wants to have to stay inside when they have been running outside for the past 6 months. Check out the winter class schedule at your local gym or fitness studio. You may find something new you love! Or even try and find someone new you can workout with. You will be able to workout during the cold and even make a new friend!
3. Invest in a Home Gym
While trying a new class or making a new friend is great, sometimes we don’t want to bundle up to drive out to the gym. The cold months are the perfect opportunity to purchase that dumbbell set that has been sitting in your Amazon cart since the spring! Or maybe you have a bit more to invest in and purchase that treadmill you and yours have been saving for. Either way, a home gym is a great way to make sure you maintain your fitness while it’s a bit more burdensome to travel outside.
4. Try New Exercises
Did you just complete the marathon you had been training all summer for? Are you great at doing your cycling, but not so great at doing the strength training that maintains your efficiency? The winter months are a great time to view your routine through a new lens. Instead of framing it as you can no longer do your running or bike riding, try and think of it as trying new exercises inside to make those outdoor activities even easier! Strength training is a great way to make sure your muscles and joints are moving as efficiently as possible. This will make you an even better runner, and get you flying on your bike when it gets warm!
5. Treat Yourself
An easy way to combat the motivation loss during the cold is to spend a little money on yourself! Perhaps you have been eyeing a new winter gym outfit. Or even that Fitbit you’ve been saving for. Well now is the time to invest a bit and give yourself a little boost to keep you going! A simple trick, but a very effective one in helping you maintain your fitness in the cold.
6. Set New Goals
Now that it is cold, a goal change may be in order! Maybe you want to try a longer training program for a spring marathon, or finally work in some of those new Kettlebell exercises you’ve been seeing! This can be a great way to kickstart the colder months and help you have something to achieve over this period of time. Setting new short and long term goals can help you keep your eye on the prize and not lose what you have gained!
There is a large variety of technology that can be utilized to help you maintain your great fitness level! Whether it’s a watch, or a new application to track your metrics during a workout, these can give you a feeling of something new and fun in your exercise! New data is always exciting and can be a great help in navigating the colder season!
Maintain your fitness in the cold can be a huge challenge, and one we will probably all face at some point in our journey. Using the tips above, along with whatever else you feel helps you, can help you make sure you don’t start to slip as the weather dips!