Even the most dedicated exercise enthusiasts can experience some lapses in motivation when it comes to staying active in the winter months.
Around this time of year, many people see their exercise routine in a bit of a flux, with plenty of goodwill to do more, but a bit of a battle when it comes to the reality of doing more… It’s hard. Nights are long and the days are a little cold and dark. It is, naturally, much harder for humans to feel inclined to step outside – or find some space inside - and get moving.
According to research by The Weather Channel and YouGov, almost a third of people in the UK suffer from a degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can be a factor in why people do not feel motivated to keep up with their workout routines.
If you feel that your motivation has slipped, you could enter a race or challenge, giving yourself a tangible target to train for. This is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated to train and exercise through the darker months of the year.
Depending on your enthusiasm and location, there are lots of different options to try - from a 5k to a triathlon and many other adventures that don't include running or swimming too...
Exercise with others
Sometimes it can be off-putting to exercise on your own, especially if you’re new to things. So, you could join a group or club…
By joining in with others and pencilling it in your diary every week, you’re more likely to stick to it - you’re able to exercise, be social and have fun all at the same time.
There is lots of research that points to the added benefits of exercising in coordination with others - it's all about community, that's what keeps us going and helps us pull through in the darker days when it feels a little bit more difficult.
So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, groups are a great way to boost the motivation and consistency.
At times, it can be hard to find the motivation when it comes to exercising in the winter months, but if you’re looking for something to keep yourself active, you can always start simple.
Try walking or running - both are great for weight management as well as mental health, and it’s a great opportunity for you to get to know a place better. Also, if your work – and coordination - allows, a walk can provide good headspace to catch up on emails or jot down ideas. Obviously immersing yourself in nature is optimum, but sometimes we can’t tear ourselves away from our desks but then when we do, we remember the benefits of stepping away, and modern technology giving us emails in the palm of our hands.
Don’t be scared to take the plunge
It may be easy to bring your workouts indoors, but you could embrace the cold weather, blow away the cobwebs and take in the cooler air by trying your hand at swimming in supervised open water areas. It may seem pretty wild, and it is, but it typically brings a supportive crowd and there is nothing quite as refreshing as a cool dip.
For many, the thought of open water swimming is a scary one, but it has so many great benefits. It's a full-body, low-impact workout which boosts your immune system, clears your mind and improves your circulation.
Open water swimming can cause an immediate improvement in your mood, as it boosts your dopamine and serotonin levels and stimulates the release of endorphins. One to consider…
If you’re looking for further support or advice around getting active to boost your physical and mental wellbeing, get in touch.