During the winter months, it can be hard to maintain an exercise routine. The long nights and cold weather can dampen your spirits and persuade you to stay in bed a little longer. But our Utah running analysis experts at Registered Physical Therapists agree—working out in winter doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are ways to beat the usual winter rut and stick to your fitness regimen.
Here are some of our physical therapist’s best-kept secrets to stay motivated.
Benefits to Year-Round Exercise
Want to feel better, have more energy, and live a long, fulfilling life? Exercise regularly.
The health benefits of working out throughout the year are hard to ignore, from maintaining a healthy weight to improved sleeping habits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mayo Clinic say regular physical activity helps:
- Control weight
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers
- Strengthen bones and muscles
- Improve mental health and mood
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls
- Increase your chances of living longer
- Promotes better sleep
Most healthy adults should participate in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
Spread these exercise times throughout the week, rather than working out once or twice a week for long periods. Accumulated activity throughout the day can provide major health benefits. For example, go for a short run in the morning, body-weight train, or attend a yoga class at night.
To better understand what exercise routine would best fit your age, body type, and lifestyle, you can work with the physical therapists at RPT. Our team will help you determine the best ways to exercise in winter and throughout the year.
How to Get Motivated to Work Out in Winter
Creating a personalized exercise regime in winter requires knowing what works best for you. When do you prefer to work out? Are you an early riser? Do you like to exercise everyday or every other? Carving out a consistent schedule will make it easier to stick to, even during the colder months. Here are a few other tips to stay motivated.
Find a Winter Activity You Love
It is easy to take a quick hike or swim at your local pool in the summer, but in the winter, you have to get more creative. There are plenty of options to choose from: running, fitness classes, at-home routines, skiing, snowshoeing, treadmills, stationary bikes, and more. Take a week or two to take a spin around the winter activity block— you could discover an exercise that makes it hard to stay in bed.
Buy the Right Clothes
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad workout gear. If you are heading outdoors for winter exercise, invest in insulated clothing. Thermal leggings, beanies, gloves, and breathable jackets make working out outside comfortable (and enjoyable)! Even if you stick to working out indoors, buying new clothes can give you the boost you need to go to the gym.
Recruit a Workout Partner
Another way to stay motivated is by finding a workout buddy who will hold you accountable. Not only will they keep you in-line, but they can make your exercise more enjoyable than doing it on your own. You don’t need a gym or studio, just each other. Recruit your workout partner for weekly workouts that you won’t bail on at the last minute. Together, you can motivate each other through the winter and all year-long.
Get in the Habit
“Once it’s a habit, exercise feels easier and doesn’t take as much willpower when you don’t feel like it,” says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. Getting in the habit of exercise starts with a routine. Stick to a regular schedule of cues like a usual time and place, a routine, and a post-workout reward.
Set up your cues and post the schedule somewhere you can see it. Run at the same time each day and listen to the same music to get started. The cues should be consistent to make exercise a regular habit.
Best Exercise for the Winter Months
One of our favorite exercises at RPT for winter is running. But running doesn’t always feel enjoyable right out of the gate. Before your run, get in the regular exercise habit by walking. Walk until you can run. Then, you can start running for long distances. Soon, you will enjoy running in any environment, whether it is during the cool summer evenings or brisk winter mornings.
Here is a beginner running schedule to start your running routine:
Source: Runner’s World
RPT offers Utah running analysis and other physical therapy services to help you stay healthy all year long. Whether you need a gait analysis to fix your form or need to recover from a sports injury, our team can help. Our trained physical therapists have a variety of skills and specialties to help you feel your best. All of our therapists are licensed members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) with additional certifications in orthopedics as well as dry needling.
To discuss a workout plan with an experienced physical therapist, contact RPT.