How to Maintain an Exercise Routine During the Winter

As temperatures drop and we break out the blankets and ice scrapers, finding time to exercise can be difficult. Maintaining an exercise routine is important for your health. It can help your heart health, improve your blood pressure, keep your muscles strong, and so much more. Although your windshields may be frosty and the only leaves left on the trees are evergreen, there are still ways to get in a workout with time to spare for holiday shopping and time with family.

“It’s a struggle, but you’ve got to find that motivation. You don’t want to lose what you’ve already built,” said certified personal trainer, Mary Kate Cogan of TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance. While habits can be simple to break, they can be incredibly difficult to rebuild once they’ve been broken. In fact, one psychology study found that it takes, on average, two months for a new behavior to become automatic.

So how do we find time to exercise amidst a busy holiday schedule? Try tying your exercise into your holiday activities. Instead of driving around the neighborhood to look at lights, try taking a walk instead. Take a trip to a holiday market to walk around or join friends at a holiday race.

If you’re planning to exercise outdoors, remember to take precautions. Keep these tips in mind when while temperatures are low:

1) Layer up
Ensure that you’re staying warm when you go outside. Cover everything, including your head, hands, extremities, and ears.

2) Stay hydrated
People tend to forget they’re thirsty when they’re cold, but it’s just as important to hydrate during cold weather. Remember to bring a water bottle with you on your next workout.

3) Check the weather
Checking the forecast before you leave could save you a lot of trouble. Maybe it’s technically 44 degrees outside, but with wind chill and other factors, it could feel like 32 degrees. Knowing what the weather will be like before you go outside will help you prepare for what may come.

4) Understand Your Surroundings
Wintertime comes with its own set of hazards outdoors. Look out for patches of ice on the running path or bike lane. Remember that the days are shorter, so time your outdoor activities so you won’t be in the dark. Wear shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls.

For many, the cold temperatures make exercise outdoors undesirable. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to stay active indoors and receive the same benefits as outdoor exercise. Joining a gym is a great way to get started. Trade outdoor running for the treadmill, an elliptical bike for a bike ride, or a beach day for an indoor swim. Moving your workout indoors can be beneficial, giving you a chance to add something new to your exercise routine. If you usually only work on cardio, try building muscle with weights or resistance training.

Don’t let the winter season ruin your exercise routine. Remember all the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are today. If you’re looking to start exercising this winter but don’t know where to start, talk to a certified personal trainer at TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance about how you can get started.

Mary Kate Cogan, CPT

About Mary Kate Cogan, CPT

Mary Kate Cogan, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) through the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Mary Kate earned her degree from Averett University in Danville, Virginia, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Personal Training. Mary Kate will always enjoy working with athletes, but she loves working with older, everyday individuals the most. Helping someone grow the confidence to perform routine tasks without the worry of falling or injuring themselves, with a simple smile in return, makes her job worthwhile. Mary Kate emphasizes that you may not be able to control all of the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
Mary Kate works at Strive Fitness and Sports Performance in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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