We all know that winter can be a challenging time for our fitness regimes. The dark nights and cold days can make exercising outdoors difficult, and all that comfort food inevitably takes its toll on our waistlines. For those who are starting a fitness program in the winter, there is the extra challenge of staying motivated on the dark mornings, when exercising before work can be the last thing on our minds.
Winter needn’t be a write off for your health, though, as with a few simple adjustments you can make sure you stay active throughout the colder months. Keeping up your motivation and staying on top of your routine is key, so make sure you start off with a positive attitude, and the rest will easily fall into place.
Eat for Fitness
It’s much easier to eat healthily in the summer months, when the heat means that we crave more fresh fruits and vegetables, and don’t really fancy a melted bar of chocolate. In winter, when our bodies crave more calories and fat to keep us warm, it is much more difficult to resist those chocolate bars, as well as huge portions of comfort food.
Of course, the secret to a healthy diet is balance, so don’t deprive yourself or cut out foods altogether. Instead, just keep an eye on how often you’re eating high fat and high sugar foods. This awareness should help you to maintain a healthy weight and encourage you to go for something high in protein but low in fat. Good winter options are a warming bowl of soup, a vegetable curry or a healthy stir fry, all of which will boost your potions of veg.
Create the Right Environment
Now that you’ve got your diet sorted, it’s time to find the perfect place in which to exercise. If you like to go to the gym and have one nearby, that might be the best option for you. If you like to play team sports, you might want to check out a local leisure centre and see what the indoor options are. Of course, it definitely helps if you live or work nearby.
Many of us prefer to exercise at home during the winter months, as it doesn’t require venturing out into the cold outdoors. If you need to open up your space, you could invest in some internal bifold doors, which will maintain the separate rooms when needed, but also open up to create a larger space for moving around in. It helps if you don’t need to move furniture around in order to have enough space, as this will affect your motivation and make you more likely to continue with your program.
Try Something New
A great way to stay motivated is to try a new form of exercise every month, as it will prevent you from getting bored and keep your mind active as well as your body. If you’re a member of a gym, try a different exercise class to boost your motivation and challenge yourself, or if you exercise at home try looking for something different on YouTube. Some good options for indoor fitness classes are aerobics, dance, pilates, yoga and weights.
Have a Little Fun
Perhaps the most important part of your fitness regime is having fun. This is one of the only ways that you can be sure to stick with the program and not get frustrated or bored with it. By taking things less seriously, you open up your mind to new options and are actually more likely to put more energy into your workout, which will benefit your body as well as your mind. Remember that you’re not training for the Olympics, so you’re allowed to relax and enjoy yourself.
Get Your Om On
Yoga has become a highly popular form of exercise in recent years, and with stress levels on the rise it’s hardly surprising. Yoga is actually focused more on mental health than it is on physical fitness, although every yoga class involves some sort of movement sequence. It isn’t just for super flexible or thin people; anyone can do yoga, regardless of their age or size, and it’s the perfect thing to take up at home in winter.
All you need to get started is a yoga mat and some comfortable clothes, then have a look online for some videos that suit your experience level. There are many different types of yoga, some of which focus more on strength and working out, while others focus more on meditation and stretching. So don’t give up if you don’t warm to it at first, as it is one of the easiest ways to maintain or increase your fitness during the winter.