In winter it’s easy to lose motivation when it comes to workouts. With temperatures dropping and the days at their shortest, it’s no surprise that a lot of the time, we would rather be nice and cosy in the house. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which makes it much harder to feel positive and motivated during the darker, colder months.
Whilst it’s easy enough to simply sit inside and enjoy the heating, there are many more benefits to be had from leaving the house and enjoying a good workout. Not only is staying active good for your physical health but exercising also helps us to feel happier and more energetic. In this blog, we will talk through our top tips for helping you stay motivated to keep up with your workouts throughout winter, and our advice for staying safe when exercising outside.
Go to bed earlier
Starting the day with a workout is a great way to make you feel energised and more motivated for the day ahead, however, it can be tough getting out of bed early when it is cold and dark outside. To make the mornings easier on yourself, we recommend going to bed earlier. When the nights are dark, gradually start getting into bed earlier. For example, hit the hay 15 minutes earlier each week for a few weeks. Try and avoid watching television or using your phone for an hour before bed, as this will help you to sleep.
By gaining an extra hour in bed, this will make a huge difference when it comes to getting up for a workout when it is still dark.
Don’t settle down on the sofa until you’ve exercised
If you prefer to exercise after work, sitting down on a comfortable sofa can really kill your motivation. Some great advice is to change out of your work clothes and straight into your workout clothes and get straight out of the door rather than sitting down. Once you’ve exercised, you’ll feel the benefit of the sofa even more without feeling guilty for skipping your workout.
Make sure you are visible
If you are exercising in the morning or the evening when it’s dark outside, be sure to wear reflective clothing so you can be seen by passing vehicles. A head torch can also help you to see better as well as be seen. If you are a cyclist, invest in quality front and rear lights to ensure you stay visible.
Cover your head, hands and feet
Our blood flow stays concentrated in our core, so our extremities are more susceptible to the cold. This means its important to wear gloves and thermal socks to make sure your hands and feet, fingers and toes stay warm. If you are worried about your hands getting too warm, you can wear glove liners underneath your thicker, thermal gloves. This way, you can take your gloves off if your hands are too hot and put your outer gloves back on when they are cold.
Most of the body heat is lost through the head, so when exercising outside in the cold, a hat is an absolute must. For extra protection, a scarf or facemask can be worn.
Whilst it might seem like the right thing to do, dressing too warmly in cold weather is a mistake. Exercise generates a lot of extra heat, so as you sweat, this heat is pulled away from your body, leaving you feeling chilled.
To ensure that you are not too hot or too cold when you exercise, you should wear layers that you can remove or put back on when you need to:
- Wear a base layer made from a snug, synthetic fabric. This will be breathable and won’t hold onto sweat. Cotton is a bad idea as it holds on to moisture and loses its insulating powers when it is wet.
- Wear a middle layer of a synthetic fleece material to provide insulation. How thick this layer is will depend on how cold it is outside and how intensely you are planning to exercise.
- When it is especially cold, be sure to wear an outer layer than resists wind and water but is still breathable. If it’s especially cold, you can also wear an extra layer underneath this.
Make sure you stretch and warm down
Before you start exercising, it’s essential to stretch properly in order to help prevent injuries. When it is cold, and the body is not properly warmed up, we are much more prone to certain injuries. After a workout, it’s just as important to take time to gently warm down as this helps return your heart rate to normal and prevent the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.
Visit an osteopath
If there are aches and pains preventing you from exercising, or you are worried about gaining injuries while you work out, osteopaths can help to treat many different complaints. Osteopaths will work with you to help ease any pains and ensure that your joints are as mobile as possible, along with providing advice on exercises and general health.
To arrange an appointment at Fiona Passey Osteopaths, call today on 0121 585 8555 for our practice in Halesowen, or 01902 894 894 for our practice in Wombourne, near Wolverhampton.