It’s hard to start an exercise routine in the middle of winter. It’s cold out, making exercise a habit when you don’t want to leave the house, just isn’t motivating. Seriously, you know you don’t want to go outside for a walk or a run. But if you put off your workouts until the weather gets nice, that habit that you’ve been meaning to form usually manages to get away from you entirely.
Making Exercise a Habit Before the Weather Gets Nice
Instead of waiting for the nice weather, kickstart your workout routine now. By creating a workout habit in the winter, you’ll have a better chance of continuing that routine once the weather warms up so you can achieve your goal of getting fit.
Include Exercise In Your Routine
One of the biggest challenges to creating an exercise habit is finding time to fit a workout into your routine. Whether you’re working from home or are taking care of the kids, you can easily incorporate some quick activities that can boost your energy into your day. Getting out for a quick 10- or 15-minute walk, doing some stretches at your desk, and even getting up and dancing around with the music on as you make dinner can all help to get you more active.
You might also be exercising at home without realizing it. Activities like gardening, cleaning the house and playing with your kids all require energy and help to burn calories. Incorporating them into your schedule is good for your health, so don’t discount the time that you spend doing these activities.
If the weather outside is cold and rainy or snowy, it’s always going to be difficult to find the motivation to go outside to exercise. Instead, focus on exercises that can be done indoors. Pilates is a great option, and it can be done entirely indoors. While there’s a lot of equipment required, if you can find a great pilates studio, you can attend year-round for engaging, fun classes.
There are also plenty of exercises you can do in your own home. Yoga requires minimal equipment, and you can access videos that guide you through yoga classes online. In addition to helping improve fitness, yoga benefits your mental health; helps you battle stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Yoga can help you to develop strength and balance, which will be useful if you decide to pursue other activities, like running or weightlifting.
You might also want to purchase a stationary bike. This one piece of equipment can offer you workouts of varying intensities. With a 20-minute session, you can get a full workout. In the same vein, a treadmill or elliptical might be a good purchase for your home workout space.
Try Team Exercise Options
If you don’t enjoy exercising at home, it could be because exercise is often a solitary activity. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Instead of getting your exercise by working out in a home gym or focusing on your own routine, try using sports to get active, instead. When you’re involved in a team sport, there’s a social aspect that can help to motivate you to take part. Joining a local sports league for adults can be a fun way to get active, and with scheduled practices and games, you’ll be more likely to fulfill your commitment to the team.
Other sports that aren’t “team sports” can still provide valuable social interaction. Cycling and running are more enjoyable when you get together with a few other people to work out. The same is true of surfing – it’s much more fun to paddle out with others. See if you can create a small group of workout buddies to make your exercise sessions into social events.
Find Ways to Get Motivated
Focus on how you can motivate yourself to stick to your exercise routine. Setting fitness goals is one strategy, and setting up a rewards program may help you to get started. For instance, you can decide that if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days per week, then at the end of each week you’ll get a reward, like a trip to the movies or a dinner at your favorite restaurant.
Finding ways to make exercise more enjoyable will also help you to stick to your goals. Consider treating yourself to a massage after each exercise session. Massage isn’t just great for muscle pain relief, it can also help to improve your circulation, especially when used in conjunction with exercise. Knowing that a relaxing massage awaits you after your exercise session can make it easier to get through the exercise portion.
When you take the time to make exercise a habit, motivation won’t always be such a concern, and you may even start to feel strange if you don’t get in your regular exercise for the day. By taking the time to exercise while it’s still cold out, it will be easier to transfer this habit into staying fit once the nice weather finally arrives.
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can check out more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek