Does anyone else feel like it gets dark at, like, 3 p.m. in the winter? Just me? OK. I might be exaggerating a little, but seriously, there’s no denying that when it’s dark and cold and dreary outside, the last thing you want to do is move — like, not even to lean over and get the remote. But there are surprisingly little things that can motivate you to work out, even when keeping your eyes open seems like the most impossible task in the world.
I know the dead of winter can be a brutal time, but trust me, it’s not as hard as you think to stay just a little bit active, even around the holidays. In fact, you can use the holidays as a low-key way to keep yourself moving: Between shopping for gifts, searching for the best Christmas lights in your neighborhood, and shoveling snow (OK fine, you’ll probably find a way to get out of shoveling snow), you’re not actually as much of a lazy sloth as you think.
Sure, it might take a bit more motivation, perhaps a lot woeful complaining about the weather, to full-on work out, but once you get into a routine, I’m willing to bet that there’s no stopping you.
Shaking Up Your Routine
"Many people do the exact same workout every time, performing the same exercises in the same order," exercise physiologist Tom Holland, MS, CSCS tells Elite Daily over email. But, according to Holland, this can often be a one-way ticket to boredom and plateau, because your body simply becomes accustomed to what you’re doing. "A simple yet extremely effective way to overcome a plateau, or avoid it in the first place, is to simply change the order of your exercises," he explains.
Throw yourself into a new fitness challenge, try workouts that boost your brain power — whatever keeps you on your toes.
Setting and achieving your goals
Setting goals might seem like a piece of advice that goes without saying, but it’s seriously such an important part of staying active, whether you’re looking to move a little or a lot, so don’t put it on the back-burner.
According to SELF, a recent report from the social fitness network Strava revealed that athletes who make sure to set annual goals — whether that be in time or distance — are more likely to stay active even on the coldest and darkest of days.
Even if your goal is to not feel quite as winded by the time you make it up to your fourth-floor walk-up, set some kind of intention and work toward it at your own pace.
The Instant Boost You Can Get In Your Mood
It might sound too simple to be true, but according to celebrity physical therapist Dr. Karena Wu, owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy in New York City and Mumbai, the sheer desire to feel happy can be an incredible driving force in terms of staying consistent with exercise.
"The blues are more common during the darker winter days," Dr. Wu tells Elite Daily. "And once that feeling is recognized, the want to feel happier will definitely ensue. That want alone helps many people work out even just a little bit."
Knowing Exactly How Exercise Can Benefit You
According to a recent study from the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the better your knowledge on how physical activity benefits you, the more likely it is that you’re going to want to work out. "Most people know that physical activity is good for health," study author Stephanie Schoeppe, of Central Queensland University in Australia, said in a statement, as per a ScienceDaily press release. "Few people know the specific benefits of physical activity for health, and it may be this specific knowledge that positively influences their physical activity behaviour." Makes sense, right?
So read up, peeps. Follow some cool fitness influencers, look into articles and studies that you find interesting if you scroll past them on Twitter — you’d be surprised by how much you can learn if you’re willing to do some deep dives.
Rewarding Yourself In Small Ways
A little reward can go a long way, especially when your motivation is running low. For instance, Meghan Stevenson, a virtual run coach with Your Best Run, tells Elite Daily that even though she usually makes her own coffee in the morning, sometimes on a cold or nasty day, she’ll reward herself with a latte or some kind of warm hot treat from the coffee shop on the way home from a run.
"It’s nothing extravagant, but it’s something more than I would do for myself if I wasn’t working out or getting outside," Stevenson says.
Not Leaving Your House
Look, I get it: In the winter, sometimes it is literally just too gross to leave your house. That’s why Demi Dee, fitness trainer, health coach, and founder/CEO of The Knockout Room, suggests working out at home — or at least being prepared to work out at home whenever the motivation strikes — with a yoga mat and dumbbells so that it’s as easy and convenient for you as possible.
"There are many resistance training workouts that you can do at home with limited equipment; be creative," Dee tells Elite Daily. "For example, you can use your bathtub for tricep dips. When you don’t have to leave your house or apartment to exercise, you’ve [already] eliminated one of your obstacles."
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