While COVID is not eradicated but the curve has certainly flattened Relaxed quarantine now gives us the chance to see our mums and dads and reset our goals for the year. The downside is it's all happening as Winter is on our doorstep so there's a good chance our health and fitness will take a backseat during the colder months of the year.
Lets try and help with that motivation to at least keep our fitness moderate.
Find your why
As the seasons change, so too should your goals. Determining your purpose for maintaining your fitness during the winter months offers an excellent starting point. Your why could be one of the following:
- To counteract winter weight gain
- To help your mood
- To stay healthy
- To get you ready for a spring marathon
- To socialize with your friends
Be specific in your goals. Don't say “I’d like to run longer and faster,” say, “I’d like to be able to run a 5k in under 26 minutes.”
In other words, your goal now becomes specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time bound. You can then work backward and set smaller milestones in order to achieve it. It’s also a good idea to plan on celebrating small wins. This will help you to stay motivated on your fitness journey.
Pay closer attention to safety
Shorter days during winter may create a safety concern if you’d like to get your workout done outdoors. Fortunately, there are several precautions you can take to ensure you put safety first. It is very important let drivers know you are a person (not a car or a bicycle).
- Light yourself up
- Wear highly reflective gear
- Use safe earbuds or headphones. Be sure to get those that allow you to hear what you're playing on your phone and also your surroundings.
Other safety tips include running with a partner, varying your routes and running against traffic.
Switch up your routine
Even the most committed (even crazy) fitness buff can have a hard time getting outside when it is so dark and cold in the mornings and evenings. If you find that this is a frequent challenge for you, consider exercising from the comfort (and warmth!) of your own home. While Australia seemed to go crazy on toilet paper and gym equipment at the start of this pandemic, kettle bells, free weights & skipping ropes are starting to become available online again.
Indoor swimming at your local aquatic center or other activities like rock climbing are another effective fitness activity during winter.
These indoor workouts offer great cross-training opportunities for runners who want to avoid injury.
Revamp your playlist
Music has the power to energize and motivate you, and it just makes your workout more fun!
You might also consider incorporating podcasts now and then to switch things up. There are many different genres to choose from e.g. leadership, personal development or wellness.
During winter, you might find that you are more thirsty or that you start to crave warm “comfort foods”. Instead of resisting, try to go with the flow. But, at the same time, do your best to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods, especially seasonal ones. Balance is important year-round but especially during the winter holiday season when you may be tempted to eat all the treats.
Consider your emotional fitness too
Sometimes exercise alone isn’t enough to fight the winter blues. That’s why it’s also important to focus on your mental health during this time. If possible, schedule in some downtime to rest and prepare for Spring.
Another great tip is to ensure that you brighten up your surroundings during winter to boost your mood. Opening up all the blinds and curtains or even using a light box are some options to consider. Getting as much sun as possible is the idea with these options.
Get the right gear
If you are running outdoors for your winter workout, be sure to protect yourself with the right gear. Apart from wearing hats, gloves and possibly even a balaclava, don’t neglect your legs and feet. Our compression socks, are excellent all year round but especially in the winter when blood flow is constricted. Compression gear will aid in muscle recovery and help you to avoid common winter running injuries such as blisters.