9 tips to stay active this winter
Times have certainly changed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we live our lives and forcing us to re-evaluate health and fitness. The ability to enjoy physical activity indoors has proved to be a challenge and many of us are turning to outdoor solutions to stay active and healthy.
Spending time outside is good for all ages and can also relieve stress and anxiety due to COVID-19. Motivation to stay active with less daylight and cooler temperatures may be lacking, but with a little planning, fall and winter fitness goals can be achieved!
Here are 9 tips to help you stay committed and active through the fall and winter:
1. Reassess your motivation and fitness goals
It’s a good idea to assess your motivation for physical activity. When faced with obstacles (shorter days and colder temperatures), it’s important to identify roadblocks or challenges you may face in achieving your fitness goals. Are you prepared to run in the dark? Are you prepared to invest in clothing and equipment that will make it possible to exercise in colder temperatures? If you work from home, is it possible to carve out time during a lunch break while it is still light outside? The answers to these types of questions will help you determine whether you need to modify your workout schedule and location to stay active during the winter months.
2. Participate in physical activity you really enjoy
A main reason people stop participating in any activity is a lack of enjoyment. If you don’t look forward to your early morning yoga or lunchtime run, shorter days and the comfort of a warm home make it much more likely you will skip these activities more often, and even quit all together. This winter, try activities you love or have always wanted to try. The NCR makes it easy to try winter sports like cross country skiing, skating and snow shoeing. Participating in activities you love will make it easier to stay committed and achieve your fitness goals. If you’re a cyclist, consider swapping your bike for skates this winter. Take the time to hike, run and explore your neighbourhood.
3. Positive self-talk
Think of exercise as a can-do activity and not a must-do activity. Look at getting active and outside as a gift, an opportunity to take care of your body and challenge yourself in building a better and stronger you. Be grateful for your health and your ability to move and sweat.
4. Use the buddy system
Sometimes we need more than just ourselves for motivation. Make outdoor activity a fun family activity! Socially distant hikes and walks are always possible and staying safely connected with friends and co-workers is important during these times of increased isolation. Having someone sharing the same fitness challenges can hold you accountable to your commitment and help you stay motivated through the winter. It is far easier to let yourself down than it is to let down a workout buddy.
5. Mix-it up
Vary your workouts this winter and try a new sport and make the most of an active winter season. Take advantage of the abundance of snow and try snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Get creative so you can be challenged which keeps motivation high. Not only will these changes keep you interested, but they also keep your body challenged and improve overall muscle tone.
6. Exercise indoors at home
If you don’t feel like heading out into the darkness to stay active, try some resistance training at home or find a favorite indoor workout class online. Introduce simple, scalable and easy to do activities to your day, such as push-ups, sit-ups and lunges. These exercises are easy to do since they rely on your own body weight and do not require the use of equipment. Since the pandemic, online fitness classes have become increasingly popular and easy to access from the comfort of home.
7. Schedule your workouts
Sometimes even the perception of shorter days can leave us feeling anxious and stressed about missing out on limited daylight. If you constantly feel too pressed for time and physical activity, try scheduling your workouts into your day as though it were a Zoom meeting you can’t miss. Treat these sanding appointments with the importance you would give to your regular chiropractic adjustment or massage!
8. Weekly chores
Being indoors makes it easier for us to fall complacent to sedentary activities such as watching TV or spending time on our phones. A great way to stay regularly active at home is to commit to a schedule of daily chores broken down in 15-30 minute segments. Instead of investing hours during the weekend, consider breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable routines that could also provide you the opportunity for daily exercise. These include chores around the house like vacuuming, doing laundry, or mopping. Committing to your chores on a consistent basis will keep you physically active even when the weather discourages us to venture outside.
9. Treat yourself!
Winter in our neck of the woods is long and dark. Reward yourself periodically after what can feel like repetitive workouts. Think about something enticing to push you to meet your physical fitness goals. Maybe it’s a well-deserved upgrade to your home gym, or a new piece of artwork to spruce up your living space. Keep the visual in mind to keep you motivated while you lace up your shoes.
Staying active this winter may be a challenge during these COVID times. Yet, daily activity is important to re-energize the mind, cope with stress and prevent MSK conditions that arise from increased sedentary living. Make the most of this fall and winter by mixing up your workout routine and find ways to keep fit while safely having fun!