Winter has officially begun. If changing the clock and some crazy temperatures didn’t warn you yet, you can’t ignore it anymore since the sun doesn’t come up till after 7am and by the time you finish work it’s dark again.
We arrived to the months when the tip of your nose feels cold while outdoors and those of you who feel cold sooner than the rest of us can’t get warm until getting home and turning the heating up. Everything, even your body is telling you that it’s time to slow down, sleep longer, do less, rest more and eat lots of comfort food.
I can totally relate when you say that sticking to the same routine you were rocking two months ago feels like a real challenge. I don’t blame you. It doesn’t mean that you should just stop and not care about it till next spring though.
Instead, tweak and adjust and find a routine that works better this time of the year. Who said you must follow the same schedule throughout the year? Here are 5 ways to make your winter fitness regime fit in with the demands of the seasons.
#1. Seek the Light
I appreciate that this must be challenging if you work office hours: leaving home before sunrise and finishing after dark. However, a lunchtime walk, a mid-afternoon coffee break outside can massively increase your energy levels and motivation to attend and evening session or class.
Aim to be outdoors for a few hours when possible on your days off too, especially if the weather is dry. Dress appropriately and have several layers on in case it gets warmer or colder as time passes.
#2. Focus on Your Vitamin D
Our body produces vitamin D using UVB radiation that hits our skin when exposed to the sun and not protected by sunscreens. Unfortunately, the winter sun in the UK doesn’t contain enough UVB for our skin to be able to make vitamin D, so you need to make it your business to get vitamin D from food and supplements throughout these months. Before you think of replacing it with spending time in a sunbed, those use UVA radiation and are no use for vitamin D production.
Majority of the population becomes deficient in vitamin D in the winter. The symptoms vary, but they can include tiredness, fatigue, bone and back pain, hair loss, muscle aches and vitamin D deficiency seem to jeopardise weight loss goals too. More reasons to eat food rich in vitamin D.
Examples include: oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, eggs and red meat. You will find some fortified foods like non-dairy milk alternatives, spreads and breakfast cereals, but they normally contain very small and varied amounts.
Taking dietary supplements is also a solution, check out the NHS website for recommendation on dosage before you decide to buy some.
#3. Schedule Ahead
Seriously. I keep talking about how important scheduling is in general, but at times when your motivation is even more fragile, having a plan is imperative. Pick your session and activity times ahead, put them in the calendar and have everything ready and packed in the morning so there will be no excuses.
If your work hours are flexible or have long lunch breaks, make it a point to workout or attend a session during the day. We all know that once darkness hits motivation to do anything besides siting on the couch, plummets.
If that’s not possible, organise your life in a way that you exercise either right before or after work, so you haven’t got any slack between work and your planned session. Gathering all your willpower to go out again after having arrived home to the warmth and comfort of your living space is an extra hurdle you can avoid this way.
#4. Change it Up
Any type of movement can count as exercise. If you don’t fancy spending hours in the gym, lifting, why not try a new class? You can attend a dancing class, circuits or yoga, go swimming, practice tai chi or anything you like. It’s crucial that you enjoy your activity, so you will want to keep going.
Spending these months working with a personal trainer can also increase the chances of not putting on holiday weight and entering the new year happy and motivated.
If you don’t want to spend any time outside of your home, you can try exercising at home. There are plenty of videos on the internet that require little to no equipment and just a relatively small workout space. If you are lost between the videos, why not hire an online fitness coach who can tailor design a workout plan suited to your fitness goals and training environment?
#5 Power Through
This point is mainly for those of you who prefer the great outdoors whatever the weather or are new to running or cycling but keen to keep going throughout the cold months. While exercising in the cold is suggested to have great fat loss benefits, exercising in the cold has also health risks if you are not prepared.
A few things to consider if you are determined to keep up with your outdoor training routine during the winter months:
I hope these tips will help you to create your winter fitness routine, so you can relax for the Christmas holidays and pick it up where you left it in January. If you need clarification on any of the points or are interested how I can help you get through the dark months and feel fitter and stronger, feel free to message me.
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My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.