Maybe it’s the ability to cover up with big parkas, hoodies and sweatpants all season.
Maybe it’s the “When in Rome….” feeling that envelopes us as we see our friends, family and coworkers making repeated trips to the buffet table at holiday gatherings.
Maybe it’s just the cold.
Whatever it is, many of us have trouble staying focused on fitness goals during the holiday season. Southeastern Med offers the following tips on making sure your fitness routine doesn’t go off the rails in the winter.
- Warm up inside before you go out: It takes some adjusting to working out in freezing temperatures. Warm up inside for at least five minutes with jumping jacks or jogging in place.
- Bring the gym to you: Even though the gym is heated, it can still take a lot of motivation to leave the house on a cold, dark evening when you get home from work. For those days when the home-leaving motivation isn’t there, work out at home. Running on the treadmill, riding a stationary bike, pushups, squats, sit-ups, lunges, jumping rope, jogging in place are all easy exercises to do in the living room.
- Have a support system: When motivation levels run low, having a friend or two to encourage you to exercise can only help. Connecting socially with others will also improve your mental health during the short days and long nights of winter.
- Get out while you can: If you don’t want to get outside after work because it’s too dark, try getting a brisk walk or exercise class in during your lunch break.
- Frequency isn’t everything: It’s OK if you don’t exercise as much as you do during warmer months, because research shows that you can maintain fitness by doing more in fewer sessions. Take advantage of the times you do get to the gym, pushing yourself as much as your fitness level allows. Weight training can be reduced over the winter without a significant decrease in strength.