How many of us are guilty of using the cold, wet winter weather as an excuse not to train? I know I have been in the past! With those dark nights and winter approaching it may be challenging to motivate yourself to train outdoors and stick to those training programmes. Here are some top tips to help you stick to your personal goals through the winter:
Layer up. It’s important to stay warm and dry when training outside, so invest in good lightweight layers. Make sure that the extremities are covered as they radiate a lot of heat. A breathable waterproof jacket will even let you train in the rain – No excuses!
Warm up. Warming up is always important prior to any exercise, but even more so in the winter as the body takes longer to warm up. A cold start could result in injury so make so your warm up is appropriate for the exercise you are about to do.
Get out in the daylight. Try to get out in the morning once the sun has risen or at lunchtime, when it will be warmer and lighter. Many people suffer from a vitamin D deficiency in winter so training in the daylight is important to maintain healthy bones and joints. It will also give you an energy boost! If you do have to train in the dark, make sure you wear bright reflective clothing and stick to well-lit areas.
Train indoors. Cold weather doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. You don’t need a lot of space or equipment to do a good circuit inside. Get a mat and create a bodyweight circuit with exercises such as press-ups, tricep dips, planks, crunches, squats etc.
Cool down. This is just as important as the warm-up. In winter muscles cool down quickly so make sure you stretch to avoid any stiffness or muscle spasms. Get into the warmth as soon as possible, take off some layers and stretch. Once stretched off, have a hot drink and maybe a bath to relax those muscles.
Balanced diet. Support your immune system with a balanced diet, which is high in vitamins and minerals. Lots of fruit and veg throughout the day will help you fight off any colds.
Stick to your goal. Don’t wait for those New Year’s resolutions to refocus on your goal, stick with it. Think how good you will feel afterwards, once those endorphins have kicked in. When you lose focus or motivation, remember what your long-term goal is and why you started the journey. It will give your sessions a sense of importance.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and look after yourself. If you experience any breathing difficulties whilst training outside or develop a cold or cough, take a few days off and if necessary book a check-up with your doctor.
Finally, it’s only cold when you’re standing still – get moving and beat those winter blues!
Make the Change