If you’re like me, the prospect of venturing outside to exercise during the colder months and/or getting up on cold, winter mornings is a hard concept to get your head around. Family responsibilities, bad weather, lack of energy, dark mornings and evenings and unsupportive friends or family – these are just a few of the obstacles that we put in our way. So, what can help to get your butt off the couch and keeping you fit all year round?
First things first - make a plan and commit to a routine. Decide which days you can exercise and at what time. Even if it’s only 10 – 20 minutes 3 or 4 days per week, it’s better than none at all. Understand the obstacles that may get in your way and pre-plan how you're going to get around them.
Don’t use family responsibilities as an excuse. If you are tired and grumpy, you’re not going to be much fun to be around, anyway. Energy creates energy so the more you exercise, the more energy you will have.
Maintain a good diet. Don’t succumb to high sugar and carbohydrate-dense comfort foods. They keep you feeling low in energy. Try fruit smoothies and healthy snacks like carrots and hummus.
If you’re a runner or a walker, get out on the good days and decide ahead of time what you can do when your plans are scuppered by atrocious weather.
Great indoor options for working out indoors include skipping, an exercycle (you can get them online starting at around $150) or perhaps buying a kettlebell. You’d also be surprised how much yardage you can get out of a full size hoola hoop.
There are numerous bodyweight exercises that are a cardiovascular workout, too, including star jumps, mountain climbers, push ups, squats and lunges. These can all be done in your own living room. You can also buy a stand for your road bike to make it into an exercycle: http://stationary-bike-stand.org/
Buy a waterproof jacket and trousers. Kathmandu has regular sales and you can get great bargains in your local charity shops or on TradeMe. I found a pair of near new walking boots for $6 in my local Mary Potter Hospice shop!
Ask a friend if they would like to exercise with you. Being accountable to another person is a good way of not getting out of your work out. No friends? Find some. Join a walking group or try an indoor sports activity.
Dancing is great exercise. Try a salsa or ballroom dancing class. Take your partner or a friend. Nobody wants to go? Go on your own and make some new friends! Here’s just a few dance websites from Wellington:
Let’s face it, you know the reasons why it’s a good thing to exercise and those reasons don’t change in winter. What changes is that we use different excuses to get out of it. How do I know? I do it myself! Just be mindful of your thoughts and turn them around if the negativity and excuse-making sets in.
Oh, and all you gym goers... You guys don't have any excuse not to exercise. You've got a roof over your head all year round!
Just bear in mind that exercising is part of staying healthy and having a good quality of life. It’s an all year-round activity – crap weather or not!