Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be showing us any mercy! According to the thermometer, winter is here for Chicago.
Whether you had a great summer and fall exercise program or never quite got started, cold weather is no reason to give up on your exercise goals! Becoming motivated during the winter months requires only one thing, a change in your mindset. Even though your warm bed will be begging you to stay in its warmth, use these steps to stay focused during the cold weather.
Set a goal for yourself
If you don’t know where you are going, it will be hard to know if you are having success. Your goal can be anything from the number of times you want to exercise each week to signing up for an event to train for. Be specific with your goal and make it something that will be attainable given your current fitness level.
Find a support system
It is always easier to stay motivated when you have a partner to share in your work-outs with you. That partner can be your spouse, neighbor, group exercise program or a personal trainer. If you have an appointment with someone else, your accountability to them helps you stay accountable to yourself.
Invest in proper cold weather gear
Layering is the key. The base layer should be tight fitting and either wool or a wool synthetic blend. The purpose of the base layer is to wick the sweat. The purpose of the next layer is to insulate so you can choose a fleece, sweater or a down jacket. For the final layer, choose a shell to block the wind or rain.
The great thing about layering is that you can remove or add layers as necessary. You may start out wearing all of your layers but after your body warms up you will have the ability to remove the necessary layers in order to keep your body temperature stable during your work-out.
Make sure you have great socks, gloves and head gear. Your extremity warmth will be key to staying comfortable during your work-out and also necessary to avoid injury from frost-bite.
Set up your cold weather criteria
Having a temperature plan helps you make a decision without listening to the warm bed calling you to stay. What is the lowest temperature that you will exercise in? By setting a temperature criteria, you take all the emotion out of your decision. If the temperature is above your lowest temperature setting, you are going out. If it is below, you are using your alternative exercise plan and staying inside.
This one step allows you to give yourself permission to stay inside without guilt. You aren't lazy or a wimp, you are just sticking to your plan.
Get your gear together the night before
Have everything you need for your work-out ready and in one place. If everything is ready to go, you have one less reason to avoid going out. You can literally roll out of bed, get dressed and out the door within just a few minutes.
Even though it is cold outside, it is still possible to become dehydrated. Drink up before you go out and take water with you while you exercise.
Mother Nature may change your work-out plans but by following these steps, you can continue to stay fit, healthy and ready for spring! Good luck in your winter work-out plan!