As the weather changes and it gets chilly, it’s very tempting to stay inside, to skip the gym, and curl up on the sofa with a book and a movie. But whether you are a trail runner or a weight lifter, exercising daily is doubly important in the colder months. People tend to put on weight this time of year because they are eating more comforting foods and moving less – a lot less. Here are 5 tips to ensure your workout motivation meter stays on high throughout the year.
1. Change your routine – A workout routine can get routine, if you get that. Changing things up from time to time will breathe new life into your exercise plan. If you’re used to running the same route, go the other direction. If you go to the same Zumba class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, check out a toning, spinning, or yoga class. Keep it fresh and you’ll be less likely to get bored.
2. Update your playlist – New tunes can be a great way to put energy back into your workout, and you don’t have to look far online to find a variety of exercise playlists. If there’s a specific speed you want, you can even find tools (like jog.fm) that will match songs to your cadence. Similarly, try using Pandora. If you’re really brave, you could try working out while listening to podcasts or talk radio—learn something while you’re getting fit.
3. Cross train – Don’t do the same thing every single day. Cross-training isn’t only good for your motivation levels and mindset, it’s good for your body too. If you like weights, try doing some cardio a few times a week. Changing things like this could even give you better workout results as your body will power through any plateaus.
4. Take rest days – Schedule days off. When you go hard all the time, a day off can feel like a “cheat” and you may fall victim to the all-or-nothing mentality that leads from a single cheat day to an entire month off. Scheduling rest days ensures your body has time to recover and gives you a chance to indulge a bit.
5. Enlist a trainer or workout buddy – When you have to be accountable to someone, you’re less likely to give up. Hire a trainer for the season or just get a friend to meet you at the gym or trail. We all need additional support sometimes, and another person can offer the encouragement needed to get your butt out of the house on those cold mornings.
Colder months are no excuse for inactivity. Health is a habit that must carry through the entire year.