Keeping Active During the Winter Months
by Mischell Poitras
Committing to a routine that keeps us active and moving during the winter months can be challenging. With shorter days and colder, wetter weather, we tend to stay indoors and find comfort in relaxation and food. While this is fine once in a while, it is important to keep moving to stay fit, happy, and healthy.
If you feel stuck in a movement rut, here are some tips to help get you moving:
Schedule your time. You have probably heard how important it is to pencil yourself into your own schedule just as you would other important appointments. Therefore, you should make calendar entries to schedule your activity time. If it helps you stay committed, set up a fee and charge yourself if you miss your scheduled time. That way, you will be less likely to skip out on your daily activity.
Keep it simple. Staying active doesn’t mean you need to go for a long run or head to the gym for hours. It can be as simple and enjoyable as performing a morning yoga routine; taking your kids for a little walk around the block; or doing a few jumping jacks, squats, and push-ups. It doesn’t need to take long or involve multiple pieces of equipment; you just need to begin a program and stick with it.
Get plenty of rest. In the winter months, we don’t absorb as much vitamin D so staying active and getting ample rest are both key to keeping energy levels high. Make sure to be in bed at a reasonable time – ideally, by 10:00 p.m. if possible – and get between seven and 10 hours of sleep. Also, taking a good vitamin D supplement will help, especially if you live in a colder, darker part of the world.
Find a buddy. The most difficult part of sticking to a movement routine is often motivation. To help with this, find a buddy, someone with goals similar to yours, and make a plan together in advance. Set up weekly or biweekly meetings with your buddy; even if you can’t be in the same location, check in with each other to make sure you are staying on track. If you are feeling particularly inspired, sign up for a race or challenge with your buddy and create and follow a strategy to achieve your common goal.
Once you determine your winter activity goals, make a plan. Schedule time for yourself whenever you can, even it it’s only 15 minutes per day, and stick with it. Give yourself rewards for your efforts, enlist support, set goals, and feel your energy levels soar.