8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise in Winter

by Lauren Mansur, RHF Volunteer

Feeling the winter blues settling in? You’re not alone. As the days get shorter, darker and colder, our desire to stay active significantly lowers.  
Although you might be tempted to curl up in bed and never leave the house until sunshine and warm weather return, one of the best ways you can fight that feeling is by exercising. (Note: science even backs this up!
We know it’s tough to get out—let alone exercise—in winter, so we’ve created a list of eight ways that’ll help you stay motivated to keep your body moving during the dreary season:

1. Find a workout buddy

Nothing’s more motivating than another voice reminding you to hit the gym. Plus, having someone you enjoy working out with makes exercising feel faster and easier. Find a relative, friend or coworker who is just as interested in working out, and set goals with that person so that you can hold each other accountable to reach them!
 
2. Light up your life

Scientist have shown that brighter environments aid in fighting the drowsy feelings you experience as days become shorter and darker. Find ways to amplify your lighting to help convince your mind and body that the winter season isn’t so awful after all.

3. Eat clean and healthy

Colder, darker days tend to inspire stronger cravings for all your favorite comfort foods. Sticking to healthy, balanced meals, however, will ensure you  have energy for exercising regularly. 

4. Turn your volume up!

Find songs that cheer you up the fastest and listen to them on repeat for a quick energy boost. You could even create a new, winter-focused playlist with only these songs. Then share it with friends!

5. Join a workout class

Set schedules and human interaction can certainly help when you’re feeling down. Plus, most fitness classes take place inside. At RHF, you can choose from a variety of weekly classes to help you maintain a regular exercise routine: yoga, ZUMBA fitness, MixxedFit®, cycling, Pilates or SilverSneakers® classes for seniors. Take a look at our calendar to find one that fits your style and schedule. 

6. Join an indoor sports team

Similar to fitness classes, sports teams provide social interaction and accountability since they meet regularly. Check out one of the many sports leagues in and around Seattle that play year-round. In between sporting events, be sure to hit the gym for some yoga to improve your flexibility or to cross-train your other muscles. 

7. Plan an outdoor activity with family and friends

 Gather a group of friends for an active, activity outdoors such as ice-skating or a winter hike. Surrounding yourself with people you enjoy will help motivate you to get active, especially if trying something for the first time. Reward yourself afterwards with a cup of rich, fancy sugar-free hot chocolate or zesty healthy homemade apple cider to warm up!

8. Implement exercise in little, everyday ways

Even a small dose of exercise can help boost your energy, so sprinkle your day with little activities that both help you accomplish items on your checklist and keep you alert. Whether you have to mop the kitchen floor, vacuum around the house, or climb the stairs in your home or office, what feels minor can add up and counts towards your fitness journey. 


Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx
http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-and-depression-report-excerpt
http://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/emotional-health/winter-blues
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/tips/workout-motivation-tips/?page=4/