Winter’s here and the weather outside is frightful. It’s cold and snowy across much of the land, which, for some of us, is all the reason we need to stop exercising and hibernate. Why go out, where it’s cold, when you can stay inside, on the couch, where it’s cozy and there are snacks? But working out is linked to many health benefits, not least of which is enhanced mental well-being—especially important during these dark winter days. Here are a few things to consider to help you get your winter workouts in.

Join a gym

If you’re like me, you enjoy exercising outdoors from spring through fall, running and biking and softballing while the sun shines. But when it gets cold, I’m pretty well done. So what do we do? Simply skip the outdoor workout by picking up a gym membership. Many community centres have monthly deals and drop-in rates to make it easy. If you find it boring to work out in a gym, load up a few podcasts and the session will pass in no time. And remember, you could be slipping all over the snowy sidewalk.

Stay home

Not a gym person? No problem, you can stay home. In fact, studies show you can get a pretty good workout in just 20 minutes or less from the comfort of your living room. Body weight exercises, yoga, pilates, active stretching and high intensity interval training are all possible from your living room, with very little equipment and no need to open your front door.

Find a sport

Dreading the thought of another boring gym workout? Maybe you just need to try out a new sport, or return to one you used to enjoy. Outdoor activities like hockey, skiing and snowshoeing can move your mind off the weather and onto the scenery. Or you can find an indoor sport to keep you busy. Here are a few to consider.

Build a routine

To make sure you work in your workouts this winter, it helps to make them a habit. If you’re randomly deciding when to head to the gym, you’re less likely to do it. Decide ahead of time, make a schedule and build a habit so it becomes routine, and you have a better chance of fitting in the workouts and meeting your fitness goals. Need help on forming habits? Here are a few tips.

Find a workout buddy

Another way to ensure you get your heart going on the regular is to find a way to hold yourself accountable to someone other than yourself. Having someone who’s expecting you to show up is a great way to get you out the door. Studies have shown that having a workout partner who is encouraging and emotionally supportive is linked to getting even more exercise.

Dress the part

A good way to make sure you feel motivated to work out this winter is by having the gear you need to dominate the weather. If you’re a fashion- or gear-head, this might be just the motivation you need. If you’re a runner, think about a new pair of shoes with great grip on ice, plus gloves with touchscreen-enabled fingertips, a hat, and multiple layers. Same goes for skiing or boarding or snowshoeing. When you dress appropriately for the weather you feel like you can do anything.

Treat yourself

While the rewards of exercise are many, from feeling better physically and mentally to enhanced health and social engagement, sometimes you need a more immediate enticement to get you through a winter workout. So, every once in a while, treat yourself something special, whether it’s a simple as a hot cocoa after your session, or as luxurious as a hot stone massage. At the very least, thinking about the cozy comfort and reward after your workout will make you move even faster to get it done.

What are your tips for fitting in winter workouts? Let us know in the comments section.

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