Seek out an Exercise Partner or Group.
Exercise partners can provide social support, camaraderie and distraction from cold weather. There’s the additional benefit of making friends and hanging out with like-minded people. You can cheer each other on and probably get more accomplished than if you were by yourself.
- Get Active Online.
Consider joining a live class, fitness group, or streaming fitness app — which are great winter workout options that don’t require you to brave the cold, pandemic or not. You may have to pay a monthly fee but it’s usually less than a gym membership.
Here’s a link to the Best Workout Subscription Apps for 2021.
- Prepare for the Elements.
For outdoor workouts, watch the weather forecast and prepare by planning ahead with the appropriate clothing and have everything ready for workout time: gear, gym bag, water and snack.
- Set the Stage for Success.
Make it a simple goal to focus on getting dressed, getting to your location of choice, and being ready to workout. If the schedule calls for early workouts, program the thermostat in the morning to ensure a cozy atmosphere for waking up and place workout clothes near a heater so they’re nice and warm. Or, you can even sleep in your workout clothes. The advantage is being ready to go right out of bed in clothes that are warm and already in place. It’s like a pregame ritual and, in this case, you’ll be ready and more willing to get moving.
For after work, your simple goal should be to immediately put on your workout clothes upon entering your home. The idea behind doing that is now that you’ve met your goal, you’ll be more likely to actually do some form of exercise.
- Do it During Daylight.
Many people get frustrated when it’s dark in the morning and dark when they come home from work. The solution is to work out in the middle of the day, during the peak light hours. If the weather is tolerable, take a long, brisk walk during your lunch hour — this provides the added benefit of fresh air and a bit of nature. If there’s too much snow or ice in the way, find a staircase or head to a nearby mall or shopping center for an indoor stroll.
- Find a Warm Pool.
If exercising in the cold just isn’t your thing, indoor swimming can be a great cardio option. Swimming is one of the best sports for a long and healthy life. A warm indoor pool can be the perfect place for a workout when the weather outside isn’t appealing.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
A good starting point is to aim to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day. If you’re exercising, you should drink more. Whether your workouts are inside or out, you should be drinking water to replenish what you’ve lost. A good sign of dehydration is the shade of your urine color. Aim for the lighter to clear shades and when it turns darker know that it’s time to grab a drink. Cold liquids are absorbed quicker and warmer or room temperature drinks are better at keeping your internal temperature optimal. Choose the latter when you’re exercising in cold temperatures.
Megan DeLuca MEd, CPT