For most, Chicago’s winter weather can temporarily deplete any fitness motivation you once had. The bitter chill makes an outside jog out of the question and the icy roads lead us into a hibernation-like state. Throw in the endless amounts of delicious holiday hams, cheesy potatoes, egg nog, + gingerbread cookies, we practically force ourselves into a food coma.
But with the lack of Vitamin D from the sun and temptation to physically stock up for the winter, our nutrition and fitness regimen during these months are more important than ever. Trust me – there is nothing more I’d rather do than hit snooze and sleep until April. But maintaining a regular exercise routine in the winter is not only to sculpt our beach bods, it also releases endorphins improving our mental state.
Finding the motivation to workout and brave the cold can sometimes be impossible. To help you get in the fitness mindset, check out these 5 tips to get you through the winter fit and healthy.
Set a Goal
Whenever I’m struggling to motivate myself, I set a goal. Maybe it’s a tropical vacation or you just want to make your ex jealous, pick a date and decide what you want done by then. Once you start seeing results, that goal will be burned in your mind. Push yourself!
Take Up a Winter Sport / Activity
The worst thing you can do during the winter is hole yourself up in your house. While I don’t recommend hiking in the middle of a blizzard, a little fresh air is good for you and your soul. Snowshoeing is an awesome exercise. Don’t believe me? You can burn twice as many calories as walking, strengthen your muscles, and check out the pristine natural areas that you might never notice. If you can walk, you can snowshoe.
Find a Fitness Friend
Some people prefer working out on their own, but why go it alone when you can have a pal to motivate you? By nature, humans are driven by competition. We love a challenge and crave to succeed. Enlisting the company of a friend not only makes your workout more enjoyable, but also pushes us. A little friendly competition never hurts anyone!
You refuse to go outside and prefer working out alone – that’s fine! Try swimming. Swimming is a full body exercise and excellent for your joints, especially in the winter. If you are an avid warm-weather runner, am hour of swimming can actually burn more calories than an hour of jogging. At a moderate vigorous pace try backstroke (540 calories per hour), breaststroke (585 calories per hour), or butterfly (784 calories per hour). Besides, after you can treat yourself to a nice trip to the sauna or steam room.
Mix It Up
While it’s important to exercise regularly, that doesn’t mean your work out always has to be the same. Every week, find a new method or look for special deals on classes. Maybe it’s not realistic for you to go to Soul Cycle 4 times a week or buy a gym membership. Set marker goals for yourself. Every time you reach a new one, treat yourself. This will keep you motivated and make working out enjoyable.
There is no ‘right’ way to stay fit – you have to explore your options and discover what is best for you and your body. But I can promise you, that hibernating is definitely not the answer.