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Winter Outdoor Activities: How to Motivate Yourself

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It is pitch dark outside, the temperatures are below zero, and the only thing that’s keeping you warm and happy is your bed. It is almost nonsensical for anyone to ask you to leave the comfort of your home to go exercise outside. Except that it is not! Winter shouldn’t be an excuse to not stay fit, even as much as the weather is unfriendly. 

Outdoor activities are great for both our mental and physical health. It is unwise to spend a whole day or week in bed as that could raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. You need to learn several tricks to survive winter without missing a single workout session. And guess what, motivating yourself to move through the cold winter season easier than you’d imagine.  

When your alarm goes off and it’s pitch black outside with the temperature hovering well below zero, getting out of bed to go and exercise is a big ask. But, given we’re faced with such weather for a (sadly) large part of the year, it’s important to learn certain tricks to help motivate yourself to move during the winter months. Here are 13 motivations that can work for you:

  1. Invest in the right winter exercise kit

Good clothing choices will erase any bad weather fears and raise your confidence. Important winter activewear includes some quality gloves, exercise shoes, running socks, thermal leggings, moisture-wicking clothes, and headbands. Dress for the weather before heading outdoors and you significantly lower the possibility of catching a cold or slipping on the wet outdoor surfaces. That will inspire your confidence and unleash the workout animal in you. Besides, investing in some new workout gear will definitely motivate you to take them out for a spin, regardless of the weather. It’s too tempting! If you plan to go mountain biking at this time, consider investing in a bicycle motor kit to integrate into your normal bike, as it will definitely be more suitable for snowy mountain terrain. It’s always important to keep it safe, and snowy terrain can be quite unpredictable.

  1. Place your sports kit by your bed the night before

After taking the new training gear for a spin, don’t keep them out of your sight. Place them by your bed or in your home’s high traffic areas so that they will be the first items you see when you wake up tomorrow. You will be tempted to take them out for another spin and by the time you are taking them out for the 10th time, you will already have a daily exercise pattern- a routine that you will not be able to quit. 

  1. Remind yourself of the long-term benefits of exercise

Everyone is happy to have a bikini body by the time summer comes, but not many people are willing to get out and exercise in winter. Don’t be like them. Every morning when you wake up, remind yourself that gaining an extra pound is the last thing you want for summer. Tell yourself that you have to maintain a consistent exercise routine in winter in readiness for summer. That will force your body to toe the line and exercise hard.

  1. Exercise as a family

When you exercise as a family, the harshness of winter is reduced. Besides, it is a good way of keeping the kids engaged and active rather than letting them spend long hours watching TV. There are plenty of activities that you can try, from jump rope, balloon games, to paintballing. Playing paintball is particularly fun because it can be played by people of all ages. Everyone loves to hit the range and compete with family. You can have a team for the boys and another for the girls. The kids will really enjoy it so much that you will want to get out more.

  1. Create a support system around you

Buddy up with a colleague or your significant other. Your partner will be motivating you to get outside no matter how cold and dark it is. He/she will hold you accountable. If you don’t have a partner or your buddies are engaged elsewhere, join a workout social club. A good support system will ensure that you maintain your exercising momentum throughout winter.

  1. Eat right 

Don’t skip any meals. Eat a nutritious breakfast every morning. Ensure that you consume sufficient healthy fats, vitamins, and protein. Take your vitamin D supplements regularly and ensure that you are doing everything right for your health. Eating well will boost your immune system and strengthen your bones, so you will not fall ill or slip-up as a result of winter’s harsh weather. Also, not eating junk foods will keep your sugar levels stable and heart-healthy, so you will always be in the right shape for winter outdoor exercising

  1. Create a support system around you

Buddy up with a colleague or your significant other. Your partner will be motivating you to get outside no matter how cold and dark it is. He/she will hold you accountable. If you don’t have a partner or your buddies are engaged elsewhere, join a workout social club. A good support system will ensure that you maintain your exercising momentum throughout winter.

  1. Eat right

Don’t skip any meals. Eat a nutritious breakfast every morning. Ensure that you consume sufficient healthy fats, vitamins, and protein. Take your vitamin D supplements regularly and ensure that you are doing everything right for your health. Eating well will boost your immune system and strengthen your bones, so you will not fall ill or slip-up as a result of winter’s harsh weather. Also, not eating junk foods will keep your sugar levels stable and your heart healthy, so you will always be in the right shape for winter outdoor exercising.

  1. Concentrate on The Mental Health Benefits

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t lose weight or feel fit even after starting working out. You’ll soon realize those benefits – you just need to be patient and keep exercising hard. But what you should focus on right now are mental health benefits, as they happen almost right away. A fitness session will make you feel better, happy, and more relaxed, which goes a long way in helping you deal with the daily stressors of the winter season and keep the seasonal affective disorder at bay.

  1. Learn a new skill

Looking for a way to avoid slipping back to bad habits as the chilly winter sets in? Learning a new skill can be a great way to rejuvenate yourself. It gives you a real opportunity to meet and interact with new people, which adds fun to outdoor activities. Whether it’s a dancing class, team sport, or scuba diving, learning something new gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Whatever new skill or sport you decide to learn, consider grabbing a couple of your friends and giving it a shot this winter.

  1. Take a before picture

The saying “a picture paints a thousand words” is especially true in the context of fitness. Being capable of seeing the huge leaps you’ve made in your fitness journey is incredibly powerful and will be a continuous reminder that the power of change lies in you. As the winter starts to set in, take a picture of yourself from multiple angles, front, side, and back. Then keep training hard the rest of the season, while taking extra pictures every month to get a detailed visual snapshot of the progress you have made so far. Once you do this the right way, working out during winter will never be a hassle again.

  1. Monitor your progress

Building from the point above, monitoring your progress gives you a true picture of how far you have come and will motivate you to keep pushing. Given that you always see yourself daily, it can be difficult to notice the changes that are taking place. But by constantly monitoring your progress, you’ll get a clear picture of what’s happening and will have peace of mind from knowing that you’re moving towards your goal. Some of the great metrics to constantly monitor include your weight, heart rate, waist inches, and workout performance.

  1. Take Good Care of Yourself and Your Body

If you don’t take adequate time to relax and recuperate, you’ll always feel exhausted and sluggish. Consequently, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and focused on your workout program. So it’s important to treat yourself to a refreshing cup of hot coffee as well as a long hot shower when you get to your house from a tough outdoor training session. While showering, remember to use some salts to soothe exhausted and sore muscles. On top of that, be sure to get sufficient, restful sleep.

Conclusion

It is challenging to be active during winter, but it sure isn’t impossible. Don’t wait until it is hot to go exercising outdoors. Push your limits and hit the road no matter how cold, dark, or rainy it is outside. You might need to avoid dangerous terrains (like mountain climbing), but hitting the park or playing on the beach is safe and fun.

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