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08.01.2020- Winter Fitness Motivation

Try as you might, there’s no getting away from the fact that keeping up a regular exercise routine during the winter is hard work. The combination of dark mornings and evenings and chillier temperatures aren’t exactly the most motivating of factors when it comes to getting outside and getting active, especially when the alternative option involves staying warm indoors under a blanket! Although sustaining your fitness levels during the winter months can feel like a bit of a battle, it’s something which is worth committing to- both in terms of physical and mental wellbeing. During Christmas cabin fever, getting out of the house for a run really did me the world of good, and maintaining a level of physical activity during the winter also goes a little way towards making you that little bit more resilient to coughs and colds. With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a little list of hacks to help keep things moving over the next few months: 

Switch things up 
When it comes to fitness, sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and over the last year I’ve really felt the benefit of switching up my activity. Having started running back in 2012, last year my knees started to give up the ghost a little bit, so I gave them a break by adding a weekly swim into my routine, as well as walking more. I’ve definitely noticed the difference and can’t wait to get back to swimming when the weather allows. Over recent weeks, I’ve also been doing some more resistance-based exercise, using my kettlebell and bands to push my muscles a little bit more ahead of a big charity challenge for Trekstock in April- so far, so good! For the year ahead, I’m also thinking about trying barre- any recommendations on which classes are best is very gratefully received! 

Listen to your body 
Without doubt, there will always be instances when your body simply isn’t up to exercise- and that’s ok. Factoring in rest days to any routine is just as important as sustaining a regular programme of activity, and even if you do want to push through, sometimes you can do more harm than good by pushing yourself too much. If you want something lower impact for less intense days, then yoga or walking are the ones. 

Invest in the right kit 
Over the last few years, I’ve learnt that spending money on the right equipment is the best favour you can do yourself. Whether it’s getting geared up with some cold-weather exercise essentials or waterproofs, the right sports bra or getting fitted for some trainers, once you’ve got the right kit, you’re already halfway there. Last year I invested in some new trainers for the first time in a good few years and have already noticed a huge difference, not just in my running but also in terms of being able to recover without those little aches and pains creeping in. This time of the year is also a great time to invest in some new kit, making the most of the post-Christmas discounts in the shops. 

Set achievable goals 
There’s no point in setting your targets too high to start with and then being disappointed when you don’t achieve them- and, as with anything in life, committing to a regular exercise routine is a marathon not a sprint. Whether you join Park Run once a fortnight, run around your neighbourhood once a week or just get out for a walk at the weekends, steadily building your progress day by day, week by week and month by month is something to be celebrated, rather than pushing yourself too hard at the outset. A little really does go a long way. 

What are your fitness hacks for the year ahead? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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