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Winter, Winter, Go Away

How to stay motivated through winter
Training during Winter
Training during Winter

By Liam Fox, Owner at Lindfield

Struggling to maintain the exercise routine you perfected in the summer months? You’re not alone. Getting to the gym or heading out for a run on cold, dark mornings and evenings requires a lot more motivation. Many people experience an emotional and physical shift in winter, with some suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Temperature and light directly impact our body rhythms in winter, but there are simple ways to encourage yourself to leave the warmth of your bed.

Staying motivated means focusing on the benefits. It might be cold, but there are plenty of advantages to getting out, like fresh air and Vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium, maintain bone strength, and strengthen the immune system.

Exercise can help with winter blues. Just 10 minutes is needed for the body to start releasing serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good chemicals. Staying active also helps with physical issues like arthritis, which worsens in winter, and maintaining or losing weight. While it may be cold now, summer will eventually arrive, and maintaining a healthy exercise regime over winter means you won’t feel pressured to get back into shape come spring.

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated:

Set SMART Goals
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals is crucial. At Vision, we emphasise knowing your 'Why,' 'How,' and 'What.' Sometimes, you may need to adjust your goals over winter or pick something specific like training for an event, whether social or physical.

Train for an Event
Training for an event provides a great motivator, giving you something to strive for. You could train for a marathon, an obstacle course like the 'Spartan Race,' or aim for a social event like a wedding or birthday where you want to look and feel your best.

Reward Yourself
While big targets are great, ensure you set smaller targets and rewards for achieving them (other than food). For example, track your food every day for a week or avoid refined sugar. Reward yourself with a massage or new clothes.

Use Your Trainer
Your trainer is there to support you. They can motivate you, help push you, and keep you accountable. Listen to your trainer, implement their advice, and you’ll achieve your fitness or weight loss goals.

Bring a Buddy
This is a great time to bring a friend to a group class or start a new activity together. A friend can help keep you accountable and make exercising more fun and motivational. Join a running club or try activities like dance, martial arts, or rock climbing.

Get Up
It can be tough to get out of bed when it’s cold and dark. Make it easier by turning off the electric blanket when you go to sleep and timing the thermostat to heat up when you wake up. Your body needs to cool for adequate REM sleep. Head straight to the shower upon waking—the water will wake you up. Getting dressed right away can help you resist the urge to lounge. Set your alarm to a motivating song and get up at the first alarm, avoiding the habit of hitting snooze multiple times.

Try Something New
Winter is a fantastic time to change up your workout routine. Try new classes like X-Train, Strength, or Boxing. Look for winter offers that can help you reach your goals and feel more motivated.

Use Technology
Utilise the tools available to you. Track your workouts and eating habits. Check into the gym or post a workout photo using your phone. Mark your calendar with workout sessions and treat them as actual appointments. Create a countdown to summer and listen to great music while exercising.

Flexibility & Simplicity
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Make exercise fun, not a chore. Create a routine that is sustainable, enjoyable, and easy to start. Instead of doing one massive workout twice a week, try accumulating exercise throughout the day and week. Everyone has time for the government-recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day.

Stay motivated this winter and keep your fitness goals on track!

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