Diana Kelly Levey

8 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise All Winter

January 3, 2019 | Categories:

There’s a good chance your workout motivation has been waning once it started getting darker and colder this fall. To help you find fresh ways to get motivated to exercise, we talked to fitness experts for their suggestions on you can be excited to work out all winter long. “I actually find it easy to exercise in the winter since there less social outdoor activities to distract us,” says Jorge Urquijo, Vinyasa yoga instructor and dance fitness instructor at New York Sports Club and Seek Fitness in NYC. “It’s a great time to explore different disciplines, classes, or fitness formats so you can see what actually works for your specific goals.”

  1. Set short-term and long-term goals.

It’s important to give yourself attainable weekly goals and long-term goals in order to stay motivated to exercise over the next few months. Your weekly goal could be running 2 to 3 miles three times a week, with increasing mileage each week, and your long-term goal could be a 10-mile race or half marathon in the springtime. Signing up for a race or event (and paying for it) can be helpful for staying focused and challenging your body throughout the winter months.

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  1. Find fun fitness classes.

“People want to be motivated and inspired, I personally believe a great way to do it and achieve goals is by playing and by adapting characters, the same way that we learned when we were children,” says Urquijo. “Any kind of movement, fitness or dance class that is inspired by character play or intentions—like sexuality in dance class–makes for a fun exercise class,” he says.

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  1. Create a reward chart.

Acknowledge positive daily healthy habits on a paper chart or online app, suggests Franci Cohen, personal trainer, exercise physiologist and creator of SPIDERBANDS®, a total body cardio resistance workout. You can track body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, muscle mass, waist measurements, pushup and sit-up challenges, daily exercise, or anything else you want! Looking back over previous entries will show you how far you’ve come and impel you to keep going!

  1. Get a local accountability partner.

Whether you want someone to meet you in the gym for morning workouts, or need a wisecracking coworker to check in on your fitness and weight progress, make sure that partner is someone you see on a near-daily basis, says Cohen. If you and your friend are comparing charts, make a pact that the “winner” of whatever challenge or measurement you choose has to buy or do something for the other person.

  1. Remove variables that can deter success.

Make sure your fitness buddy is as motivated as you are and a reliable partner who will be at the gym or park for your scheduled workout on time. Never skip a workout session just because your partner bails, says Cohen. Set up a verbal or written clause that whomever misses a workout has to do something for their friend, whether it’s a favor, silly and embarrassing gesture (like wearing an ugly sweater out in public for a night), or a make a donation to a charity of their challenge partner’s choice. Setting yourself up for success might also mean sharing your workout schedule with your family and letting them know when you’ll be unavailable to them. It could also just mean that you set out your workout clothes the night before and pack your lunch so you’re ready to go the next morning. Getting organized and sticking to your schedule is an important part of fitness success!

  1. Join a group exercise class.

“One of the great benefits of group classes is creating an environment and a space safe to explore, play, and exercise where people have emotional connections with the music, movements, and feed off the group energy,” says Urquijo. You can take those positive group experiences with you on your commute, when socializing with others, on the dance floor at a party, or learn about new music to add to your workout playlist, says Urquijo.

  1. Take a class that uses different parts of your gym.

Many gyms and studios are looking to see what they can hang from their ceiling and attach to their walls, like ropes, bars, and silks (for aerial classes). “They’re starting to recognize you have four walls and a floor and a ceiling and they’re utilizing all the planes of a studio,” says Cohen.

  1. Vary your exercise routine.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, some of the fitness trends they’re predicting you’ll see next year include body weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, yoga, and functional fitness programs. Cohen says she thinks we’ll continue to see more aerial art, CrossFit gyms, functional training, and new twists on cycling classes in 2015 at fitness centers across the country.

Find out if your gym has classes or individual instruction in any of these categories, or ask them about what new classes they’ll be offering in 2018.


This article originally appeared on FitnessRepublic.com in 2015.

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