We all know that exercise is good for us and that we should all regularly exercise and be active but when winter comes, activity levels and motivation for many of us drop. Cold weather and dark days definitely don’t put us in a mood for exercise. For many, it gets dark before they even finish their work and once they come home, the conditions outside are not very inviting for a jog or bike ride.
I know some people are self-motivated and don’t find it hard to keep active, even in winter. But many are simply just put off by the weather and they stop running or cycling in winter. Are you one of them? Or maybe the change of light outside makes you a little bit depressed and you lose all your motivation to exercise?
Regardless of why your activity levels drop in winter, there are certain things you could do to change that. I decided to put together some ideas to help you be more active and I will be definitely referring to them to increase my activity levels this winter.
Define your why
First of all, you need to get that motivation going. Why should you keep active in winter? If you don’t know the answer, then you will not be motivated to exercise. To find your “why”, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I feel when I exercise? What’s the feeling like after I’ve finished exercising?
- How does it feel when you achieve your goals, no matter how small they are?
- Do you want to be healthy and maintain your weight in winter?
- Do you want to have enough energy every day?
When you think about it, you will quickly realise how many benefits exercise brings. It makes you feel good about yourself and it makes you feel energetic. It helps you think more clearly. Even a short walk will boost your confidence as you have achieved something good for yourself. Short bursts of exercise still count.
What’s more, when you exercise you give your immune system a boost, helping your body stay healthy. Exercise also helps you maintain your weight.
Isn’t this enough reasons to exercise, even in winter? If I have convinced you but you need some ideas on how to keep active when it’s dark outside, here are the things you can do:
If you are a gym member, gym classes are something you should look at first if you want to be more active. Can you introduce a new class to your workouts, something which you haven’t tried before, possibly something fun that will keep you going? I used to love Body Combat before I injured my knee, such a great and fun cardio workout which I do recommend trying. Unfortunately, my knees are not reliable enough for this high impact workout anymore so I avoid it.
Many gyms offer a wide variety of classes so do check them out. It could be something there for you which you will enjoy doing every week. If you are not a gym member, why not become one? However, we all know that if there is pandemic going then your gym may not operate at regular times so you may need to look at other options temporarily.
Your local gym is not the only place to go to if you prefer exercising indoors. Have you checked your local leisure centre yet? They may have facilities which you are not even aware of. Swimming pool, squash, badminton and table tennis could all be something different for you to try.
See what your local leisure centre has to offer and take a friend with you to play sports with you if needed.
If you have a partner and would love to try to learn a new dance, you should definitely consider dance classes. Depending on a type of dance you are learning, the activity may not be that strenuous, but it is still a way of being active, especially when it’s really cold outside. Do a search on Google and see what dance classes you can find in your area. I attended a few dance classes in the past and would definitely want to do it again as it’s really fun, just need to find the right type of class which is attended by younger people as well.
YouTube is great for exercise videos. If you are a fan of yoga check these Yoga YouTube channels for example, and for general workouts PopSugar fitness is amazing. There are hundreds of other great fitness channels as well so see what you could find.
What’s great about winter is that you are able to do some fun winter sports like ice skating, skiing and snowboarding. It means spending time in the cold but it doesn’t mean you will be freezing, just wear some thermal clothes and many layers and you will be totally fine. Moving around will actually make you feel pretty hot.
If you don’t know how to ice skate or ski maybe now it’s time to learn. Do you have an indoor snow slope near you? It’s just something new to try to keep you active in winter.
If everything else fails, go for a walk. Yes, it’s not nice walking in the cold but if you are already outside walking for one reason or another, why not extend your walk? If you are walking home you could take a long way and if you use public transport, why not get off one stop earlier and walk the distance instead?
Sometimes, to be more active in winter requires just a little bit of planning. When you do that, you know exactly what you are doing and when so you are less likely not to do it. Just make sure you schedule the workouts you love or at least mix and match them so that you don’t feel like it’s a chore.
So there you have it, my top tips on what you could do this winter to increase your activity levels.