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“It’s cold outside.” We have all used that excuse at least once in our lives to get out of going for a walk, run, workout or event. We use the weather to our advantage to get out of going to the gym like we use the darkness for a reason to sleep in later. The fall and winter months are hard on everyone, especially our energy and motivation levels for exercise. In today’s blog post, we are sharing our favourite tips and tricks for getting more movement into your day, especially during the colder, snowier and darker months!
Movement Tip #1: Pick Your Favourite Form of Exercise
This tip sounds simple, yet it is often overlooked. Just like choosing your favourite foods and enjoying eating them, you will enjoy this form of exercise. Instead of looking at it as a have-to-do, it will become a “yay! I can’t wait to do it.” If you love walking, invest in a pair of outdoor running shoes or boots with treads. If you prefer swimming, find a local swimming pool whose open pool hours match your schedule. More of a Zumba lover? Find an online Zumba class or program that you can follow along within the comfort of your own home. The more obstacles you remove, the less resistance you will have when it comes time to exercise.
Movement Tip #2: Exercise When You Have the Most Energy
If you’re the mom of three kids and expect yourself to have the energy to work out after a full day of activities, pickups and drop-offs, errands, cooking and cleaning, well, that’s rare! Most of us are exhausted after a full day of work. This is why it is important to exercise when you have the energy to do so. If that means waking up a little earlier to get your workout in the morning, so be it. We promise that you will leave with more energy than you came in with though if that makes waking up a little easier! If you find yourself having the most energy at lunchtime, get outside for a lunchtime walk or workout and pack yourself a lunch that you can easily eat while at your desks such as a smoothie, veggies and dip, trail mix or finger-friendly foods. Call your workout hour, your power hour. Do your best to exercise when your energy levels have peaked, so you can power through them and then reap the benefits of it for the rest of the day!
Movement Tip #3: Get Your Friends / Family Involved
Exercising is hard, but it’s easier with the company. Get your friends and family involved when it comes to workouts so you have an accountability partner that holds you to your word to exercise! They can be your lunchtime walking buddy, gym partner or your zoom joining Zumba loving friend. Having a partner to work out with builds an extra layer of accountability, beyond yourself, and makes you more likely to follow through with your commitment.
Movement Tip #4: Set Up A Home Gym
For anyone wanting to pull the “it’s cold” or “the weather is bad” card, this will eliminate both of these excuses. Setting up a home gym allows you to construct it based on the type of exercise you enjoy the most. If you like weight training, you might invest in a barbell, a variety of dumbbells, a squat rack, pull-up bar and bench. If you enjoy yoga, you might clear a space in a spare room for a yoga mat with blocks, straps and bolster. If you prefer cycling, you might invest in an indoor bike or a rack for your outdoor bike that allows it to operate as a stationary bike indoors. By setting up a home gym, you position yourself to have access to it at all hours of the day, especially if you are working from home and hold yourself accountable. If you choose not to exercise due to another excuse that you create, you’ll likely feel guilty for not following through on your commitment to yourself as a result.
Movement Tip #5: Habit Stacking
We shared this tip in our other blog post this month. Habit stacking is performing a habit immediately after finishing a habit that is ingrained in your routine. This could look something along the lines of, “after I brush my teeth, I am going to do fifteen air squats.” Or “after I unload the dishwasher, I am going to do ten pushups.” These simple yet effective habits are an easy way to build small movement breaks into your day by compounding them with exercises that you already perform with ease. If you want to take it a step further, put a pull-up bar in the doorway leaving your office and do a few chin-up or pull-ups on your way to the bathroom. This is a simple, yet effective way to build strength multiple times throughout the day without it being as daunting as performing them in higher volumes in a workout.
Adding more movement to your daily routine in the colder months ultimately boils down to performing your favourite type of exercise, recruiting a workout partner, timing it with your waves of energy and stacking the habit on top of already established habits. The fall and winter months make exercising outside less appealing with every drop in degrees, so be sure to select your favourite exercises, dress appropriately, call upon a friend and smile. Its been proven that by smiling, our brain perceives us to be happy - so you might be cold, but at least you’ll be able to convince your brain that you’re having fun!