With the seasons changing it is hard not to spend all your free time curled up on the couch binge watching Netflix. The cold has set in and your fitness motivation has started to freeze up along with it. Here are four ways to help fight the urge to hibernate this winter.
Absence of Light
It’s that time of the year where the darkness sets in. If you’re someone who enjoys morning workouts you might be adjusted to waking up in the dark, but for those of us who work out at night the struggle is real. Long winter day and nights affects your mood which in turn affects your workout.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the change in seasons. Most of the time people become depressed towards the end of fall and it carries on through winter. Specific causes of SAD are unknown but it is believed to be caused due to the absence of sunlight in the winter months. This absences of sunlight disrupts the production of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin. This, in turn, affects your mood, appetite and energy levels.
If the darkness hurts your motivation to stay active plan to get a workout in during your lunch break. If a full workout isn’t possible at least get up and go for a walk. You can choose to go outside and brave the cold or just walk around the building. Look into investing in some light weights to keep at work. When you get a free moment do some light shoulder presses or even air squats. If you haven’t already, replace your office chair with a swiss ball. Sitting on a swiss ball engages your stabilizer muscles increasing core strength and improving posture.
Holidays are happy times spent with family and friends but usually involves over indulging in good food and skipping out on the gym. Yes skipping out on your morning workout to help with Thanksgiving dinner might sound like a nice thing to do, but really how much are you helping. For all that time you spend glancing over at the T.V. and taste testing almost everything, you could have been exercising. Plus you would feel more motivate to help complete dinner when you get back.
Instead of indulging in an excessive amount of pumpkin spice everything and loads of your grandmas famous stuffing try to steer yourself towards other seasonal items that are a lot better for you. Try seasonal produce such as cranberries, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, squash and eggplant that are full of bold flavors and good nutrients.
Layers upon layers of clothing start to cover your body as the temperature outside drops. This doesn’t mean you can let yourself go just because no one can tell if you gained a few pounds under that giant knit sweater. Yes I know it was a lot easier to skip dessert when you are pool side wearing little to nothing with the sun beating down on you. However, you do not want to fall into the statistic of gaining 5lb over the holiday season.
Try and stay focused on your goals. If you don’t have any goals set some. Goals keep you motivated and push you to go that extra mile. I don’t mean goals like “loose 20lbs in such and such time”. I want you to set goals that push you to be better. Some goals I have set for myself in the past are; Do a pull-up, be able to do 25 push-ups, and run a 5k.
Greasy food, every dip imaginable and lot and lots of beer! This seem to be what most of my get together with friends and family look like when the winter months hit. No one wants to be outside in the 20 below weather we get here in Wisconsin, so instead we keep indoors usually at a favorite bar and indulge in all the fatty goodness. The excuses I like to tell myself is that its “game day” or “I’m socializing”.
Don’t destroy all the hard work you have put in. Try to cut back on the beer and drink more water (at least in-between beers). When you’re going to a party at someone’s house opt for bringing a fruit and veggie try with less fattening dips such as hummus and greek yogurt. If you are headed to the bar look for some air-popped popcorn to snack on rather than those deep fried cheese curds.
Don’t let this winter destroy all your health and fitness progress.