How to keep motivated to exercise this winter


Young sporty woman with smart watch tying shoelaces

What to do if the short days are zapping your energy (Picture: Getty Images)

When it’s cold, wet and dark, many of us don’t fancy rushing out to do a workout. New research by Sports Direct reveals 48 per cent of us find it hard to stick to our normal exercise routine during winter months, with 61 per cent stopping exercise completely.

So, if you’ve lost your fitness mojo, it’s time to stop wallowing in your hot chocolate and do something about it. Inactivity can take a massive toll on mental health so don’t let hibernation get the better of you. It’s time to get motivated.

‘Sitting in your pyjamas, snuggled on the sofa and watching Netflix probably seems more appealing than training outside in the cold or travelling to the gym,’ says Leah Paton, a personal trainer at private wellness clinic Lanserhof at The Arts Club (lhtac.com). ‘So, if you’re lacking in productivity, here are my top tips for staying accountable.’

Create a list of goals


Blue notebook with a sheet of paper and a pen

Goals, goals, goals (Picture: Getty Images)

‘This can be as simple as “go to the gym three times a week”, or even a mindfulness goal such as “meditate for 10 minutes a day”. Having a clear list of goals to tick off as you go through the day can increase motivation, and also keep you accountable.’

Prioritise daylight


African woman jogging in park

Sunshine is your friend (Picture: Getty Images)

‘One of the biggest triggers of seasonal depression is lack of sunshine and it can be easy to fall into a rut. Try a brisk morning walk, open the blinds during the day and find time to be in nature. The endorphins released from exercise will make you feel great, as well as the serotonin release you experience from being exposed to sunlight.’

Schedule days and times for exercise


African young woman doing yoga virtual fitness class with laptop at home - E-learning and people wellness lifestyle concept

Make time for your body (Picture: Getty Images)

‘This not only creates accountability, but allows you freedom to do what you like with the rest of your day. If you have a clear plan to help you reach your goals, this can help with adherence.’

Find time for the things you love


And make time for yourself

And make time for yourself (Picture: Getty Images/Photononstop RF)

‘Whether that be an hour of watching your favourite show, seeing your friends, or even playing an instrument, it is important to carry on doing these things during the winter months.

Self-care is extremely important and will allow you to burn brighter as you’re filling your days with activities and rituals that will feed your soul, rather than burn it out.’

Socialise


Friends Jogging in the Park

Get a mate to motivate you (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Get a gym buddy. This not only makes it a healthy habit, but also a social outcome. You are much more likely to adhere to your plan if you have someone to make it more fun with, and you feel a sense of responsibility of not letting the other person down. Plus, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone, and it can be fun to push with your friend.’

Lay out your gym kit


Woman preparing for workout. Developed from RAW; retouched with special care and attention; Small amount of grain added for best final impression. 16 bit Adobe RGB color profile.

Make it easy for yourself (Picture: Getty Images)

‘For one, it saves time having to find an outfit in the morning, but it also provides more motivation if you see your kit lying there. Choose fun colours and wear clothes that make you WANT to be in the gym. The first step to looking good is feeling good, and gym-wear plays a big part in that.’

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