Winter is a season that many of us dread. While there are plenty of moments filled with joy and good cheer, a great deal of the season feels cold and dark. Motivation seems to fade on many fronts during this time – especially the motivation to exercise.
It is incredibly challenging to motivate yourself to exercise in the winter.
After the rush of New Year’s Resolutions and fresh goal-setting excitement, the rest of winter feels like a bit of a drag. Getting out of the house for work and chores is challenging enough, let alone finding the motivation to get moving and sweating.
But luckily, it is possible to stay motivated to workout in the winter. With a few adjustments and some simply strategies, you might be able to avoid the winter workout rut altogether.
This season is filled with opportunities to build, maintain and start on new goals. Whatever your reasoning may be, these 6 strategies might be all you need to stay motivated to exercise all winter long.
6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise this Winter
Make a plan.
Simply reminding yourself each week that you’d like to stick to your exercise routine is hardly enough to keep anyone motivated. More often than not, staying motivated involves a bit of careful planning and thinking ahead – especially in the winter.
Create a plan to keep yourself accountable. Decide what type of workout you will complete each day and where this workout will take place. Sit down at the beginning of the week to decide what exercise will look like for the next 6 days, or create a long term training plan to follow all season.
Related: How to Create the Ultimate Winter Running Plan
No matter how you decide to plan it out, make a point to stick to it. Accomplishing those first few workouts on your plan is key to maintaining that motivation you feel when you’re getting started. It’s so much easier to keep up with your plan when you’ve knocked out 8 workouts in a row, rather than trying to get back in the game after skipping a few days of exercise.
Set spring goals.
While you’re creating your plan, think about setting a few spring goals. These goals may feel far off now, but before you know it, spring will arrive. Setting lofty goals for the spring is a great way to stay motivated with exercise in the winter.
Accomplishing fitness goals is something that often requires careful planning and preparation beginning weeks and months in advance. Take the time now to think ahead to the future and decide what you’d like to achieve in the spring.
Related: 3 Genius Strategies to Achieve Your Fitness Goals
Setting goals not only gives you a purpose with exercise when things are feeling especially dreary and cold in the winter, but these goals help you stay motivated and accountable for completing your workouts. Sign up for a goal race, join a gym, or complete any of those first few steps it takes to get started working towards your goals.
Join a class or find a friend.
It’s no secret that winter can feel pretty dreary. Between the extra cloud coverage, bitter air and freezing temperatures, this season is filled with temptations to snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket.
When motivation feels hard to come by, find a friend or class that you can count on to keep you accountable. Having a workout partner not only prevents you from skipping out on those daily exercise sessions, but it makes heading to the gym a lot more fun and enjoyable.
If you’re heading to the gym this season, try out a few new classes. Joining a group might be just what you need to mix things up and keep fitness exciting this winter. Try running outdoors with a friend or meeting a buddy at the gym for your next training session.
Work out in your living room.
Who wants to leave the house when it requires a thick coat and winter gloves? Not anyone that I know.
The good news is that you don’t have to leave the house at all to workout this winter. Plenty of workouts and exercise routines take place right in your living room and require no equipment at all. Some of the best workouts can be created with a combination of bodyweight exercises. And the best part, you can do them all while watching tv!
Related: 30 Day At Home Winter Fitness Challenge
Finding fitness motivation in the winter is a lot easier when you can workout anywhere you are. Being able to exercise right at home is a great way to avoid the potential excuses you could create from having to go somewhere else. Stay motivated this winter by starting a new exercise routine that doesn’t require you to leave the house.
Buy some new workout gear.
Sometimes, finding the motivation to exercise involves more than just mental willpower. No matter how much we hate to admit it, maintaining a fitness routine often means finding external sources of motivation and rewards.
One of the best ways to keep your exercise routine interesting this winter is to buy some new workout gear. Whether you like brightly colored leggings or flowy shirts that make you feel confident, purchasing something new is a simple way to add excitement to your routine.
Related: The Best Running Gear for Cold Weather Runs
Reward yourself for staying active throughout the winter with a couple of pieces of new workout gear. The excitement of getting to wear something new might be all it takes to stay motivated to exercise this winter!
Schedule exercise in.
Even when you’ve carefully planned out what workout you want to complete each day, it’s easy to get so caught up in work, chores and social events that the day is almost over by the time you find yourself thinking about that workout.
Take the time to schedule your workouts every single day. This may mean creating a new morning workout routine to get it done before the day begins, heading to the gym right after work, or changing things up each day depending on your schedule.
Related: 8 Ways to Stay Active and Fit this Winter
Schedule in your workouts just as you would schedule in a meeting or your child’s soccer game. Once exercise is on your schedule, it’ll be much easier to make it a priority and avoid those excuses.
It’s important to remember that just about everybody struggles with fitness motivation in the winter. Regardless of whether you love the season or despise it, there’s something about those chilly, dark days that make doing anything (let alone getting moving) tough.
Take advantage of what all this season has to offer and use winter as a time to build the fitness you’ll need to hit those lofty spring goals. Adjust your training so it is as easy to maintain as possible, and above all – cut yourself some slack.
This is a season of maintenance, recovering, and preparing for what all is to come. But just because it may feel a bit different than spring or fall doesn’t mean it’s impossible to stay motivated to exercise in the winter.
More winter fitness motivation:
- 5 Ways to Keep Running When It Gets Cold and Dark
- 10 Ways to Stay Healthy this Winter
- 8 Winter Running Tips to Conquer the Season