I am one of those people who prefers to hibernate in the winter. It is just so COLD here from December to March and I find it difficult to motivate to do anything, including exercise.
Last winter was my first one as a stay at home mom, and I spent many days snowbound with my daughter. It was a long few months, but I managed to exercise pretty consistently. I am hoping to maintain the same level of exercise for this upcoming winter, even though the recent weather makes me want to crawl into my bed at 5pm every night.
Here are some of my tips for maintaining a workout routine during the cold, depressing winter months:
1. Schedule exercise into your day and pay for classes in advance.
I recently started doing Soul Cycle and the classes are expensive. The studio requires that I sign up in advance, which makes it a lot less likely that I will skip class. Strict studio cancellation policies are a blessing in disguise in the winter! Since I am a stay at home mom, I usually need to arrange for babysitting in order to workout. When a babysitter has planned her schedule to watch my daughter, odds are that I am not going to bail.
If you take classes that require advance payment, go ahead and sign up! Hopefully it will make you go to class, even in the cold weather.
2. Find a workout partner.
Having someone to workout with will keep you accountable and more likely to show up. If your exercise partner is meeting you at the gym in 20 degree weather, it will help motivate you to go as well.
3. Change up your exercise routine for winter.
I spent all summer running outside with my daughter in the stroller. Now that it is freezing and wet out, my running stroller is retired until warmer weather.
I always find that it is easier to workout during the winter if I change up my fitness routine. Although I love running in the summer, I don’t enjoy it in the winter. But, just because the weather is cold doesn’t give you an excuse to stop exercising. Try going to some new indoor fitness classes. Another idea is to embrace winter sports like snowshoeing, ice skating and skiing for exercise. I am also a big fan of exercise videos in the winter, since you don’t need to leave your house during bad weather.
4. If you are planning to exercise at home, put on workout clothes in the morning or as soon as you get home from work.
I am a stay at home mom, so I can get away with wearing yoga pants most of the time. On the days when I am home with my daughter, I usually work out during her nap at noon. It is not my ideal time to exercise as I am usually hungry for lunch and anxious for some quiet, reflective time after a hectic morning. If I am already in my workout clothes, it is easier for me to pop a DVD in and start exercising.
I know that there are some cold, dark, snowy days ahead, but few activities uplift me more than exercise. By following these tips, I am confident that I can continue a fitness routine even on those days when I would much rather snuggle under the covers. If you are struggling to exercise, I hope that some of these ideas work for you too.
Health Coach/Fitness Instructor