The clocks go back, the nights start getting darker and if you’re anything like me, your motivation to work out is slowly dwindling too?
When it’s cold, dark and frosty it is so easy to skip that first workout of the week. It’s even easier to talk yourself into missing a second because, well you’ve already missed one and you really don’t feel like scraping ice of your car this morning. . . and then two becomes three. . . and soon it’s Easter and you haven’t exercised in months.
Once December arrives, we seem to slip into this human hibernation mode and gradually start eating more and moving less. It just comes out of nowhere and creeps up on us without us even realising. Before we know it, our winter workouts have gone completely out of the window and we tell ourselves – I’ll start again in January!
However, instead of giving in and snuggling up on the sofa in our pjs with a hot chocolate (or wine in my case) we need to just embrace the season.
New research has shown that one in three people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And according to the findings, women are 40 per cent more likely than men to experience symptoms of condition. No wonder we’ve lost our workout mojo ladies!
So what can we do to boost our motivation during these winter months and try to reduce any symptoms of SAD we might be experiencing?
1. Get outdoors
Exposure to the sun helps release the hormone serotonin in the brain, which is associated with boosting our mood. We need to make sure that we are actually going outside during the day to expose our skin to the sun.
2. Get a workout buddy
Having a workout buddy can really help motivate you during those winter workouts as they provide a reason for you not to give in. You are less likely to stay in bed when the alarm goes off if you know our friend is waiting for you in the cold!
3. Schedule workouts
Not enough time is one of the most common excuses I hear for people skipping workouts. It’s really not about ‘finding’ time, it’s about making time. Schedule your workouts in your diary st the beginning of the week so you know exactly when they are coming up and they fit around all your other commitments. However be realistic as we know, over committing to anything can lead to burn out and giving up.
4. Invest in some winter workout clothing First things first, you need to keep warm. Muscles lose more heat during cold weather, which can lead to tightness. They to dressing for a winter workout is layers! Layering clothes is great because as you get warmer (which you definitely will) you can discard layers to regulate your temperature.
5. Preparation is key I like to workout in the morning because at 6am nothing can get in my way – except me! However, I follow these steps to make sure I have zero excuses when it comes to working out:
*Put the alarm clock out of reach so I can’t easily press snooze
*Get my clothes out ready the night before so I can just grab and go without thinking about it
*Leave a bottle of water and a banana at the side of my bed to have when I wake up.
I usually find that 90% of the time these 5 steps work for me and keep me motivated to workout during the winter months. The other 10? Well, that’s when I’m snoozing the alarm or snuggling with hot chocolate – and that is OK! It’s important to realise that missing a few workouts here and there won’t derail you – unless you let it! So get those appointments booked in the diary with a friend, have a Sunday shopping spree for some new workouts clothes and go smash that winter workout.