10 Dead-of-Winter Workout Motivators

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10 Dead-of-Winter Workout Motivators

Written by Nicole Nichols, Certified Personal Trainer

Lower temperatures and darker days can wreak havoc on your workout motivation--if you let them. Stay on track all season long with these cold-weather motivators that really work!

Sleep in Your Workout Clothes

If you're a morning exerciser, it's usually cold outside (and inside your house!) when you wake up. The thought of getting out of bed and stripping out of your PJs to change into your workout clothes isn't exactly appealing. Save the step and prevent the chill by going to bed in your workout attire. You'll be dressed for your workout and toasty warm, making it easier to start your workout.

Go Straight to the Gym

If you're an evening exerciser, bring your gym bag to work and head straight to the gym instead of going home or running any errands beforehand. Errands can always taken longer than expected, making you late for Spinning class, just as going home can diminish your motivation to leave the comforts of your couch.

Enjoy the Great Indoors

If exercising outside in the cold and slush just isn't your thing, don't force it. Whether you pop in a new workout DVD, invest in some small fitness equipment or even just use your body weight, exercising at home can be a convenient way to stay on track. And the best part about working out from your own home? No winter commute!

Pump Up the Music

Nothing motivates like music. Create a new playlist of upbeat workout songs and include your favorite motivational songs. When your winter workouts aren't calling your name, put on your playlist to find your inspiration and energy to get going, and then keep listening to boost your energy until it's time to cool down.

Get in Gear

When you layer properly for winter activities, cold, rain, sleet and even snow are never an issue. There truly is workout attire for every weather scenario. And when you invest in your health and fitness by buying some new duds, you'll not only benefit from instant motivation to try it all out, but the "it's too cold" exercise excuse will be a thing of the past.

Exercise During Your Lunch Break

High temperatures and maximum sunshine usually occur midday, so use your lunch break to squeeze in a walk or other office-friendly exercise. Plus, when you use your lunch break to work out, you won't have time to be tempted by fast food or other high-calorie restaurant fare; simply pack a healthful lunch to bring with you. It's a win-win!

Set Your Sights on Spring and Summer

Train for a spring 5K or a summer half marathon. By signing up for a race that requires you to stay fit and active all winter long, you won't be able to skip your training workouts and still reach your goal. Each time that early morning alarm rings or your Saturday afternoon training group meets, you'll be there because you'll want to reach your big goal. If races aren't your thing, set a specific weight loss goal or set your sights on a special trip (swimsuits, anyone?) that you'll want to look and feel your best for.

Take Up a Winter Sport

If you're a competitive type, why not try a new winter sport? From skiing to snowshoeing, there are many great options that burn mega calories and put a whole new twist on your cold-weather workout plans.

Join an Indoor Sports League

It's always warm indoors! Whether you want to try your foot at soccer or relive your former basketball glory, there is a local adult sports league for all sports, ability levels, ages and genders. Plus, practicing and playing a sport is a great way to change up your workout routine so you keep getting results and staying interested.

Make a Fitness Date

Lacking motivation to run outside? Enlist the help of a friend. When you set up an appointment with someone else, you're much less likely to find excuses or show up late. Call a friend and set up a regular workout date at home (try a DVD together), at the park for a jog, or at the gym for that boot camp class you've wanted to try. Fitness buddies unite!

Just Get Out the Door

It's the initial shock of the cold that we think of as unbearable in the winter, but when you get past the doorway, you've won half the battle. Once outside, you have no choice but to get moving to build up body heat. When you're not feeling motivated to work out, fake it. Get dressed, put on your shoes, and get outside. Nine times out of ten, you'll just keep right on going!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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12/11/2014 10:00:23 PM

This fall I had been enjoying walking in the UW Arboretum after church on Sundays. I'm thinking that when the snow falls I could try getting out my cross country skis (if my thumb and wrist will allow).


3/19/2014 3:34:14 PM

MPETERS79's SparkPage


3/2/2014 10:57:40 AM

Great tips!


2/27/2014 3:53:04 AM

BIBIANAB's SparkPage
I love the suggestion of sleeping in your workout clothes to save time in the morning!


2/17/2014 9:46:56 AM

REVSHAY's SparkPage
I learned some great tips, thanks!


2/1/2014 7:15:29 PM

HAPPY12009's SparkPage
Love this slide show - very motivating :-)


2/1/2014 3:24:22 PM

MARIO843's SparkPage
These are all great tips that I plan on putting into play.


1/26/2014 10:40:01 AM

KATD13's SparkPage
Can't stand the winter months & this one is especially brutal. Another below zero day.

I'm looking forward to spring, when I can run or go for a bike ride on the wooded trails & kayak on the river & lake.

For now, the best I can do is LA Fitness, 5x's a week. *sigh*


1/23/2014 9:07:14 PM

LEMAE47's SparkPage
I did 45 minutes of Zumba gold, a dance program for seniors. I need to do a little more like walking, Hope to do better tomorrow.


1/9/2014 7:43:26 PM

We have a snowshoeing group on SPARKPEOPLE~!!


1/9/2014 3:01:29 PM

I fell victim to the "its too cold out today" episode this week, and I live in FL!! So I hit my recumbent cycle triple time. 60 minutes inside in the warmth burned 3 times the calories of walking 4 miles outside!! So I won no matter what the weather is, and I have learned to love my bike again. I do it in 20 minutes intervals since it goes uphill and is challenging with the reverse flywheel. I know if I can do one set of 20 minutes, I can pull another one out after I rest a few minutes and cool down somewhat.

But these are all great ideas. Simple ones, but sometimes we forget that simple is better!


1/9/2014 11:03:24 AM

Jazzercise is my lifesaver. I love to dance. The instructors & music are incredible!


1/7/2014 9:51:54 AM

PINKIE78's SparkPage
I really like this slideshow. Thanks!


1/5/2014 11:10:37 PM

BUB001's SparkPage
Need to get back to the gym, as the colder weather we're having curtails my favorite... walking.


1/3/2014 10:32:11 AM

I exercise regularly in the cold by keeping warm clothes easy to grab and by thinking how
I want to look next spring and summer.

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