Many of us are staring down the barrel of some hard winter training with the upcoming season fast approaching.
It is cold and dark, and many of us are stuck indoors. So, it is time to be strategic and realistic with your exercise routine if you want to see results and stay motivated throughout the season.
Here are 5 practical steps you can take to get the most out of your winter training without blowing yourself apart.
Layer your workout outfit
This winter, as it becomes colder outside, wear as many layers as possible before stepping out for exercise. And for a good reason.
Your muscles and body temperature are already warm before you even start working out because you are indoors. Stepping outside suddenly can disrupt your internal temperature and lead to illnesses. This is also why it is advised to wear a jacket immediately after working out before you leave the gym.
The amount of clothing you wear affects how you train. When you exercise, your body needs to hold onto heat. So, when you wear more clothes, you allow your body to function at its comfort and convenience.
That being said, the problem with layering is that you have to carry around extra clothing, which can make the routine uncomfortable. Consider wearing a windproof jacket and opt for synthetic fabric more than cotton as the latter is more absorbent.
For example, Nike has some fantastic winter workout wear, perfect for winter training. But if it’s a little out of budget, you can use a Nike promo code to get up to 40% off on your purchase!
Warm-up with a winter run
If you find it difficult to get any amount of workout done, don’t beat yourself up. We have already had a lot to deal with these past few months and if you are focusing on your health amid all this, consider it a miracle.
Planning your workout regime might be a tad too much responsibility and require more energy. And if you are not fully motivated, it might lead you to call off the training altogether.
But if you are not motivated enough to leave the house, consider going for a run to warm up. A good run will not only make you sweat but also ensure that you achieve at least some of your training goals, if not all.
Embrace the sun as much as possible
Besides getting enough sleep at night, getting enough sun is the most critical thing you can do to stay healthy during the winter months. When the sun is out, take advantage of it, even if it means getting up an hour earlier than usual.
Outdoor winter training is twice more beneficial for you than any other time. Training outside when the sun is shining will allow you to break a sweat and get that much-needed vitamin D, which is in such a deficit during the next few months.
Vitamin D supports your immune system. It helps fight off the common cold and flu and equips your body to fight off other similar infections. Since you don’t go out much, your body experiences a vitamin D deficiency during winter, making you susceptible to common winter disorders.
Set smaller goals to keep yourself motivated
Many people find it helpful to create small, realistic goals for their physical activity. For example, you might decide to do 10 minutes of exercise four or five times a week instead of committing to a 40-minute session. And that will work for you better than a well-crafted plan.
When you set big goals, you are more likely to quit before you reach them because they seem daunting to begin with. But if you set small, attainable goals, you are guaranteed to reach them as you constantly allow yourself to be set up for success, which adds a feeling of accomplishment to your training.
Since the cold makes it difficult for you to stay motivated, it is advised that instead of sketching out a strict workout plan, start by getting dressed and showing up at the gym. Once you are there, you will find the strength to exercise.
Consider sleeping in your workout clothes
Yes, you read that right! Sleeping in your workout clothes during winter can have several benefits for your training program.
First, it prevents you from skipping exercise because you are feeling lazy or undermotivated to get dressed. Even if you roll out of bed at 5:00 a.m., you are likely to exercise because you are already dressed for the task – which, let’s face it, is a more significant task than the actual workout.
Second, wearing your exercise clothes can give you a psychological boost by making you feel that you are getting ready to exercise, not lying in bed.
Third, sleeping in your exercise clothes lets you maintain a warmer body temperature. So, when you start working out, you don’t have to work extra hard to warm up.
Professionals recommend sleeping in your workout clothes. “Dark, dreary and cold mornings make you want to stay in bed as long as possible. So to stick with my morning runs, I have to keep my workout on my mind – and my body – the night before,” explains Coach Nicole from SparkPeople.
Bonus: Don’t shy away from training indoors
In the past year and a half, we have become accustomed to exercising indoors. So, why not keep up with the routine even though you are allowed to go out?
Besides, exercising inside doesn’t have to be boring. A variety of exercises, such as planks, push-ups, lunges, and deadlifts, can be done in your living room.
This video from the American Heart Association is a great jumping-off point. It is a safe and actionable alternative to outdoor training and can deliver similar results.