How to stay motivated to workout in winter
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Anyone else suffering big time with the change in weather? Hibernating under duvets, online shopping for thick knits and woolly hats. Summer is a long distant memory. *wipes away tears*
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Some of the symptoms are a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability and feelings of despair. Mind explain SAD ‘like having your own portable black cloud.’
It might be a cold, grey morning, but the worst thing you can do is stay in bed… Exercise is proven to be one of the best ways to exhale those pesky negative vibes and inhale all the good ones. Let’s face it though, it can be very hard to stay motivated to go to the gym or a run on a freezing cold winter morning and evening. Or, can it?...
Smash out a new Spotify playlist
We’ve previously talked about all the awesome benefits of exercising to a banging playlist. When you have a good beat, exercise doesn’t seem so hard. If you curate the perfect workout playlist you may even look forward to exercising.
If you really can’t face the gym, then pop on a great tune and dance it off at home. It’s still boosting those much-needed endorphins! Dancing can improve mental health as well as physical wellbeing. See you on the kitchen dance floor.
Know what time of the day works best for you and stick to it!
Some people like to get their workout done as early as possible. It sets them up for the day, means they won’t find excuses after being at work all day and it’s usually quieter. Others see working out as a stress buster… after a big day at work, it can be nice to smash out a gym session and feel pumped after. Plus, the thought of getting up at 5am really puts some people off, us included.
Schedule your workouts. Get into the routine of exercising at a time that suits you and your lifestyle. Even try writing them in your diary and pretend it’s an appointment you can’t miss… Once you get into the habit of it, it will just be something you do. No effort required. Promise.
Eat and drink well
A healthy balanced diet will definitely help to physically give you a boost if you’re feeling flat. According to Eating Well, these are five of the healthiest winter foods:
- Pomegranates: Studies have shown that eating these can help to improve blood flow to the heart, which can help you to feel more awake.
- Dark leafy greens: Think kale, chard and spinach. Rich in vitamin A, C and K. Great for this time of year and you can just pop them in most recipes.
- Citrus fruits: Rich in vitamins – plus a yummy workout snack!
- Potatoes: Excellent source of two immunity boosters-vitamins C and B6. Purple potatoes are rich in anthocyanins-antioxidants linked to a host of health benefits.
- Winter squash: Mmmm butternut squash soup. High in vitamins and potassium.
So, make sure to get these on your shopping list. Craving carbs? Try swapping pasta (the go to winter warmer) for healthier complex carbohydrates such as lentils, brown rice and potatoes. Feeling the need to snack more? Do so on the good kind of carbs, like popcorn and pretzels, these can help your body to produce serotonin. Avoid a sugar crash and the urge to eat all the cookies.
Sign up for a race
Why not sign up to a race then you really have to train during winter?
Buddy up. Wrangle a friend to sign up so you can both motivate *push* each other? It’s much more tougher to cancel on a friend than to just decide not to go yourself.
Below are some fantastic websites which can help to source races near you:
Also, check out your local parkrun – you got this. *fist pump*
Learn something new
Learning a new exercise-based skill keeps things interesting and fun. Switching it up might make you feel more motivated and you never know, you may discover that
you’re really talented at a brand-new skill. If you’re nervous about trying something out on your own see if you can get that buddy to join you.
Live in a big city? You’ll be surprised by how many new classes there are to try out, things you probably hadn’t even thought about haven’t really thought about. Like trampolining, ariel yoga or maybe pole dancing classes? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it…
Ultimately, it’s hard to keep up with your exercise regime in winter (and even harder to start one). Don’t but too much pressure on yourself but do actually try…
Remind yourself why it’s important. Remember to be kind to yourself and body. Make sure you get enough sleep. Remember to treat yourself. Don’t ruin all your efforts but one of the best things about working out definitely means you can treat yourself. Right, who’s with us?
Exercise releases all those happy hormones so we promise you will be glad you did it – who ever regrets a workout anyway?
Can’t shake the sluggish or gloomy feeling. Wear a bright colour. Invest in some new workout gear, it really can help motivate you. Invest in a Lumie.
Been thinking about purchasing a new house plant, do it. Become a plant parent. Looking after plants can be a form of self care - plants make people happy. Leafy green plants can bring a freshness and help clean the air we breathe.
If you are dealing with anxiety and depression related to SAD, please visit Mind for more information or contact your doctor.