Once winter arrives and the cold weather makes it tempting to do little else than snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket or two, it can be harder than ever to stay motivated to exercise. Eating healthy can be harder, too, as good intentions often go by the wayside during the long, cold months of winter where comfort food is tempting.
As challenging as the winter months may be for staying on track, don’t let the winter season ruin your progress. Dig deep with the help of the following tips for sticking to your fitness goals.
Warm Up By Moving More
Warm blankets, bulky sweaters and cranked-up heaters aren’t the only sources of warmth in the winter. Get your blood flowing and your heart pumping with just a brisk 30-minute walk outside or a jog around the block, and keep your body warmed up by staying in motion. Smaller segments of physical activity can go a long way in keeping you warmed up and feeling active.
Tailor Your Workouts
The winter months can provide many exercise opportunities that you can’t enjoy the rest of the year. Snowshoeing, skiing, sledding (think of the steep hike back up to the top of the hill), or even building a snowman outside with the kids can all provide a good workout. Though you may not feel like running outdoors as often, workout DVDs and weightlifting indoors offer the perfect solution. Swim a few laps in a nearby heated pool to maintain activity when the days are short.
Try a Twist on Traditional Recipes
Cold weather food is often heavy on carbohydrates and extra sugar. Instead of settling in with a heaping plate of carb-filled potatoes and gravy or an extra slice of pie, be prepared ahead of time with pre-made meals that serve as a good alternative to some of your favorite dishes. Some crockpot soups make great meals when the weather is cold and can be prepared with lots of veggies and lean meats. Before the winter months arrive, look for healthy alternatives to traditional recipes or consider how you might swap out some of the less-than-healthy ingredients for smarter choices.
Focus On Healthy Carbs
As you prepare to hunker down for the long winter ahead, don’t feel as though you have to swear off carbs entirely to see healthier results. Stay motivated in your health goals by turning to healthier choices in the form of complex carbohydrates for the energy and full feeling you seek. Some great examples include whole grain, legumes, brown rice and oatmeal over fruit juice, syrup, cookies, and cereal.
One of the best ways to stay motivated to stick to your health and fitness goals in the winter is by pairing up with a friend or family member with goals of their own. Find someone who will brave chilly mornings with you for regular walks or take turns with you cooking healthy meal options. Enlist the assistance of a partner or friend to watch kids at home while you head to the pool or enjoy an afternoon on the slopes.
One of the best things you can do to maintain enthusiasm during the winter is to consistently keep track of your progress and take note of the exercise and healthy eating efforts that you make as you go along. This will help you take it one day at a time and see what progress you’re making even when the days are cold. Recognize that winter will come to an end and you will be proud of yourself for seeing it through!
About the Author: Brooke Cade is passionate about health and wellness. She enjoys writing about all the things she loves in life, including yoga, hydrotherapy, Nature’s Sunshine products, and anything related to living life to its fullest.