It can be hard to stay motivated in the autumn and winter. The bitterly cold wind and rain, lack of sunlight during the day and long, dark nights don't provide much inspiration for dragging yourself off the sofa and out onto the streets or to the gym. But there are some things you can do to make exercise that little bit more appealing during the colder months of the year.
1. Warm up at home. Doing your warm-up before you leave the house will get your heart pumping faster, raise your core temperature and put you in the right frame of mind to work out. If you really can't face going outside because, for example, there are six inches of snow blocking your front door, then why not do your whole workout at home? If you don't have any equipment there are plenty of exercises you can do that use your own body weight.
2. Mix it up. Don't get stuck in a rut by doing the same things all the time. That can get boring really quickly. Taking a different route on your run or adding some new exercises to your workout that you've been meaning to try will keep things fresh. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
3. Buy new gear. A great way to make yourself want to work out is to invest in some new fitness clothing that you love. It should be bright, fun and make you feel confident when you put it on. You'll be more likely to want to get out there and work out because you'll be excited to wear it.
4. Wear thermal layers. The cold is no excuse for staying in. Wrap up warm and get outside! You do need to wear the right things, though – your civvies just won't cut it. Avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture and will chill your skin quickly. Buy specially designed clothing made of breathable materials which will wick away sweat and keep your body temperature regulated.
5. Exercise with a friend. This will make you more accountable and therefore more likely to show up. You won't want to let the other person down and let's face it, exercise is usually more fun with someone else. It can be a good way to spend some quality time together and you can offer each other support and encouragement.
6. Pay for a class or personal trainer. If you're not very good at motivating yourself, a personal trainer is ideal. It's their job to motivate you, and they're pretty good at it. Paying for an exercise class in advance is another good trick because you'll feel like you've already committed and probably won't want to waste the money. Make sure it's a class doing something you enjoy, not something you dread the thought of.
7. Keep a fitness diary. Another way to keep yourself accountable is to log your workouts in a fitness diary. I've written a whole post about how to start one and the benefits of doing so, which you can read here.
8. Stick motivational notes around the house. Find some quotes online that inspire you and either print them off or make your own craft project by writing them out and decorating with eye-catching colours and pictures. Hang them in strategic places around your home to give you a little motivation when you're not feeling it.
9. Practise visualisation. Right now, sitting in your cosy house with the heating on, the thought of swapping it for the great outdoors seems ridiculous. Snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate and your favourite TV show is a thousand times more appealing. So what you have to do is make the workout seem more appealing. Impossible? Not really. Just imagine yourself achieving your goals – maybe you finally have the body you've been working for, are able to run a 5K or just climb the stairs without getting out of breath. You're fit, healthy and full of energy. Close your eyes and really picture these things happening. Now, how are you going to make them a reality? Not by binge-watching Netflix in bed. It's simply a matter of prioritising what you want most over what you want right now.
Which brings us nicely on to the final tip...
10. Make a spring fitness goal to work towards. You should always have goals, and setting a specific goal to achieve by the spring is a great way to motivate yourself through the winter months. An example would be to sign up for a 5K or half marathon so you have something definite to work towards. Remind yourself of this goal every time you don't feel like training.
The hardest step is the first one out of the door and you know you'll feel better after your workout so get off the internet, go outside and move your body. Right now!
How do you stay motivated to work out during the colder months? Leave your tips in the comments!