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Ways to Stay in Shape During the Winter

Ways to Stay in Shape During the Winter

There’s no escaping it: winter is coming, and for many of us that means pulling a Punxsutawney Phil and symbolically going underground until the thermometer hits 70°F again in April. But just because it’s cold out and there’s snow on the ground shouldn’t mean we completely disregard the workout regimen you’ve worked so hard to create throughout the summer months. You might need to change up your routine a little bit, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run. It’s when you take month-long breaks that it becomes much harder to get back into the swing of things. If you want to stay in shape over the winter, try the following strategies.

1. Do some extra walking.

I know it’s cold out, and I know walking through dirty, slushy snow hasn’t been fun since you were seven years old. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to get some extra steps in throughout your day. Instead of taking the elevator to your apartment, take the stairs. Park farther away from your building at work; the extra minute or so in the cold won’t kill you. If you’re that worried about freezing to death, hit the mall—even if you don’t plan on buying anything. But no one will judge you if you treat yo self.

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2. Exercise at home using workout DVDs, videos, or video games.

Okay, so there are definitely going to be those days when it’s actually not safe to venture outside. And on those days, you’d much rather stay in your pajamas and read while sipping hot cocoa than get up and get active. But think about it: when you work out at home, you don’t have to spend time changing your clothes or driving to and from the gym; you can put 100% of that time into actually exercising. Walk in place while watching TV, or throw on that aerobics DVD that you got three Christmases ago that’s been collecting dust over the years. Some video games actually promote the idea of getting off your couch; put them to good use!

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3. Try some indoor sports.

Your local rec center knows the importance of staying in shape all year long. Check out any intramural leagues that may be opening up in your area. Don’t be discouraged—most of these leagues aren’t competitive, and are full of people of average ability like you who just need to a way to keep moving during the winter. Strap on your new basketball sneakers and hit the court, or get your safety goggles ready for some high-speed racquetball. You might even find a new pastime that will keep you active throughout the rest of the year!

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4. Go swimming.

There might not be anything better than diving into a warm indoor pool during the winter. Not only is swimming a great way to remind yourself of the carefree days of summer, but it also is an incredible way to stay in shape. The best part about being in a pool is it doesn’t matter if you’re swimming laps or just floating around—it’s all exercise that will benefit you in the long run.

5. Join a class or training sessions.

Just as you can join a recreational sports league, you can also find training classes at your local gym that cater to a variety of needs. Regardless of whether you’re trying to bulk up or get better cardio results, you’re bound to find something that works for you. Join a hot yoga class, or hire a personal trainer. Most gyms will offer trainers at a discounted price for new members, so take advantage of the opportunity to keep a healthy routine moving forward, or to start up a brand new individual regimen. As long as you keep moving, you’re doing yourself a favor!

Featured photo credit: Basketball Game March 27th/ 2012 / roland barnett via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 6, 2020

10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation

10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation

You come in from a long day at the office, and you want to get a workout in, but you can’t find the motivation. Or maybe you think you have workout motivation, but “life” is getting in the way.

Making your workout a priority and finding ways to fit it into your schedule will offer you a host of health benefits, help you lose weight, and make you feel like you’ve got your mojo back.

Working out will be a lot easier if you view it as a gift you give to yourself versus a distasteful activity you have to get through. Think about your health and vitality — by working out, you are treating yourself as a priority and coming from a place of self-love.

Studies show that regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.[1] So if you’re using the excuse that work is taking over too much for you to have time to work out, think of your workout as a part of your work day. You’re helping your brain be sharper at work.

“Healthy exercise is valuable not only for the maintenance of good physiologic function of the body, but also mental clarity, and the feeling of good health.” —Paul Dudley White, MD

Once you’re ready to make your fitness goals a priority and give yourself the gift of regular exercise routines, how do you implement your workout plans into your daily life?

Here are 10 ways to boost your workout motivation. These strategies will help you keep your fire for working out going strong.

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1. Commit to Your Calendar

Say you want to work out for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Look at your calendar for that week and see where those spots will fit in the best. Then, make a commitment to sticking to those times.

One exercise study showed that a big obstacle to maintaining regular exercise is being able to fit it into a person’s schedule.[2] Make these appointments with yourself unbreakable. Maybe you can handle variety, so one day a week you might have an early morning workout. Another day that week, you might fit it in after work.

2. Start Your Day with 20 Minutes for Your Workout

You may have great intentions for working out after work or during a lunch hour, but inevitably other commitments will encroach into that time and kill your workout motivation.

If you get on up and knock out your workout first thing, you reap the benefits all day long of that energy boost. This workout could be a morning walk or hitting the yoga mat right when you get out of bed.

3. Expand Your Horizons and Seek out Variety

Our brains crave variety. If you are stuck in the rut of the same old workout, it might be time to stretch yourself.

Brainstorm some wild ideas that sound appealing to you. Look for fencing classes in your area. See if there’s a place near you where you can rent kayaks, and look for some local outdoor clubs where you could go kayaking with others.

Even if the new thing you try is challenging, give yourself some time to stick with it enough to see if it might be for you.

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4. Include Social Time in Your Workout

Having a hard time fitting in a workout because of your social life? Instead of only getting together with your friends at the wine bar, see if you can schedule a hike in the park with them, or you could join a rec league like kickball. You could talk a friend into joining with you, or you could sign up by yourself and meet some new pals.

Some exercise research has reported that competition is a key motivator for exercise, and you can use that to your advantage in one of these leagues.[3]

Other opportunities include playing basketball or tennis at local parks, gyms, or fitness centers. Scope out some ways to make your workout more social or combine fitness activities with your social life to create more workout motivation.

5. Use Music to Inspire You

Is your playlist stale? Spend some time creating a great workout playlist. Search Spotify or create some motivating stations on Pandora.

Think about what songs make you move. If you hear that song, you just can’t sit still. Even the theme song from Rocky might be a good motivator for you.

You can create multiple theme playlists to spark more creativity and fun in your workout. How about making a playlist of Best All-Time Roller Skating Songs? Or Best Heavy Metal Workout Songs? Best 80’s Workout Playlist (maybe it includes Let’s Get Physical).

6. Find Some Cool Podcasts

If music isn’t really your thing, download podcasts or audiobooks that interest you. Getting lost in a good podcast or audiobook can make the time fly by during your workout. And if you get the satisfaction of “multi-tasking” — you’re getting your exercise in while reading a book or staying up to date on a podcast.

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For an extra boost of workout motivation, if you’re listening to an audiobook, stop it at a cliffhanger and decide not to listen again until the next time you work out. This will motivate you to start exercising so you can see exactly what happens.

7. Update Your Gear

Maybe you’re not up for working out because your workout gear is from the dark ages. If you go to pull out a T-shirt for your workout, and it’s full of holes, it’s time to re-do your workout wardrobe.

Think of getting new workout gear as investing in yourself. How often do we make sure our living rooms or kitchens are state of the art, but we don’t put any time, energy, or money into our personal effects?

It could be as simple as getting a new water bottle. Making sure you have supportive and properly fitting shoes is key to achieving your workout goals. And if you get a new workout tee or tights, it can make you more motivated to get moving.

8. Get Organized for Your Workout

Set out what you need as motivation for your workout. If you are going on a morning run, lay out your workout clothes alongside some motivational quotes the night before. Fill your water bottle and set it on the counter.

For the after-work exercisers, pack your bag of clothes to take with you to work so you have no excuse not to go to the gym. If you are coming home after work, set your clothes out so that when you come home they will be a not-so-gentle reminder to you saying, “It’s time to go on your walk!”

9. Use Alarms as Nudging Reminders

So you’re not a morning person. If you think getting up earlier to squeeze a workout in before work is just not going to happen for you, then set an alarm for the time you need to start preparing for your workout in the afternoon/evening.

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If you want to go on a walk at 6pm, set an alarm for 5:30pm as a reminder. When you hear the alarm, it’s a workout motivation reminder. You don’t want to shirk on your health and fitness.

10. Trade Exercise for That After-Work Happy Hour

Maybe you are skipping some workouts to meet co-workers at happy hour. Or you come in from a long day at work and have a glass of wine first thing to alleviate the stress of the day. While it’s sometimes nice to unwind with a glass of wine, doing so after work could become a habit, and you can replace that habit with exercise.

By cutting out alcohol right after work, it gives you more time in the day to get a workout in. Try to go straight from work to your workout, or put your exercise clothes on the minute you get home and head back out the door for your run or walk. Whatever it is, think of that happy hour as a new kind of “happy hour time” for your to treat yourself and your body to your workout.

Exercise can help stave off anxiety and depression, so if your post-work drink is to alleviate post-work stress and anxiety, give a neighborhood walk a whirl instead.[4]

The Bottom Line

Life sometimes gets in the way of our plans, including our plans to work out and stick to weight loss goals. However, by maintaining the attitude of self-love and giving yourself the gift of time to exercise, you can use the above tips to help you stay on track with your workout motivation.

By using some organizational tricks and remembering your reasons for making your workout a priority, you’ll not only find the time to fit it in but feel good about doing so.

More on How to Find Workout Motivation

Featured photo credit: juan pablo rodriguez via unsplash.com

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