Baby it’s cold outside

  • 26th Nov 20
Baby it’s cold outside

When it’s cold, dark and a bit wet, how do you motivate yourself to exercise inside or outside in the winter?

Social media following
There’s lots of great people to follow online for fitness inspiration but be careful that they don’t leave you feeling deflated. Pilates by the pool in the summer months might be a pleasing aesthetic but come the grey days of November, it can leave you feeling jealous and unmotivated. For a slice of realness, follow @thefoodmedic, a doctor who shows how you can fit in exercise and healthy nutrition during a busy day. 

Prepare the night before
Planning a run but the weather looks a bit wet in the morning? Have your gym gear out and ready the night before so you don’t give yourself an out. Know that you will probably make an excuse for not going but prepare an answer in your head so you can squelch any negativity.

Reward yourself
Exercise is hard work so acknowledge that with a little reward at the end of the week. Anything from a new book or manicure, a little treat to provide an extra dose of motivation when you really can’t be bothered.

Get the right gear
There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing." If you are going to exercise outside in the winter make sure you have the right kit to keep you warm and as dry as possible.  If you have poor circulation, running gloves are a must and a hat or headband will help to keep your ears warm, and protect you from the biting wind. If you like running outside on parklands or fields, invest in some trail running shoes that offers far better traction and stability on uneven terrain, meaning that yo care less likely to slip over.  If you are a cyclist, then a snood or cap under your helmet can keep heat in and legwarmers and overshoes will provide an additional layer of warmth.  From a safety perspective bright clothes will give you better visibility, necessary if you are on the road or sharing a path with other runners.

Fuel Up
Don’t feel like waking up to exercise? If you’ve been fuelling your body with alcohol, sugar and caffeine then you aren’t giving yourself the best chance of success. Eating well the night before you exercise will make all the difference with your energy and motivation in the morning. Fuelling your body with more protein and seasonal root vegetables will increase your energy levels, giving you the boost to want to exercise. In the winter, think about making healthy soups with added lentils and pulses.

Surround yourself with positivity
It’s very easy to be dissuaded from exercise so you need to find the people that will support you. Meeting friends for a coffee instead of a workout can be a slippery slope so either find people to exercise with or a group to give you virtual support. Don’t use Christmas, Easter, or any other holiday to derail you either, make the commitment and stick to your guns.

The ten-minute rule
When you're not feeling it and struggling to get yourself motivated to start your workout, commit to 10 minutes only. Give it your all for that time period and if after that you want to give in, then that’s fine. However, you will be amazed at how much you want to continue because starting really is the hardest part.

Break the habit
You might have great intentions but often our habits get in the way of our ability to do new things and stick to them. Habitual behaviours can be fine but not if they are getting in the way of making healthy decisions. So you need to turn negative habits into positive ones and one way of doing this is through habit stacking. It works by connecting your new positive behaviour to something you already do, helpful because you have already allocated a time for this every day so the change is not so enormous. A couple of examples can be doing a ten minute stretch or ab workout before breakfast or changing into exercise gear at the end of the working day for a 30 minute session.

Cold weather exercising
Having made the decision to exercise outdoors, there are a few things that you must do to stay in tip-top health.

Warm up
It’s especially important to warm up before a cold weather workout to increase the blood flow and temperature in the muscles to help decrease the risk of injuries. Whatever sort of exercise you are going to do, include low-intensity movements that mimic the exercise you are about to perform. For example, lunges, squats and arm swings.

Protect your skin
Exercising outside in the winter means that you will need to pay attention to your skin. To keep skin from drying out drink plenty of water and use a moisturizing cream or lotion. Use a baby cream for any particularly dry or sensitive areas, it will banish the problem and also act as a barrier.

Think about your breathing
In cold weather, the airway passages tend to narrow, which makes inhalation more difficult. Try and breathe through your nose to warm the air or if it’s really icy, wrap a bandanna around your mouth to trap water vapor in when you breathe out to keep the air moist. 

Stay hydrated
You may not feel as thirsty as you do in hot weather but you are still losing fluids through sweat so it is important to replace those liquids. Sip water while working out and throughout the day.

Get changed
As soon as you stop a cold-weather workout, you will notice you will get chilled fast. You should still do a cool-down, tapering your exercise intensity during the final five minutes then repeat your warm up and do some static stretches. Don’t stay in your workout gear, jump straight into a warm shower and dry clothes to keep the chill away.





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