With the cold creeping in at the moment, I am reminded that winter is just around the corner – the season of dark mornings, “5-more-minutes” and lots of coffee. Living in such a beautiful region, staying active in summer is easy! A hike through the mountains, a run on the promenade or day at the beach makes keeping the body moving a pleasure. Winter, however, is a slightly different kettle of fish – a cold, wet and windy run on the beach just doesn’t seem quite so romantic.
We know that it’s important to keep our fitness up (especially if you’ve been working hard at it all summer) – but sleeping in seems so much more appealing! So, how exactly do we keep the body moving in winter? Here are a few tips to keep you feeling fit and healthy throughout winter:
1. Set your alarm for 30 minutes later and work out for less time
Now, this one might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but hear me out – we all know that it’s not very likely you’re going to be keen to wake up at 5:30am when it’s freezing cold, so you’re going to hit snooze and roll out of bed with just enough time to have a brekkie, grab a coffee and head off to work. Waking up at 6:00am is much more reasonable! So wake up a bit later, change your training to something short, sweaty and intense and keep it under 30 minutes. A short workout is better than no workout, and giving yourself a bit of a sleep in might be the pre-reward you need to get to gym instead of not getting there at all.
2. Set a summer goal
Pick an event that starts in summer (something ballsy like a long-distance run, a triathlon or maybe even UTCT) that you know you’re going to need to train hard and consistently for. Setting a big goal is going to give you the motivation and resolve you need to keep training – even when it’s cold and wet. Write down and commit to some weekly goals and some smaller milestones to keep you moving forward and feeling like you’re achieving something. Tell some people about it, and maybe even get a group together to do it with you!
3. Make sure you’re getting in enough vitamins
One of the major set-backs we find in winter to our training is the dreaded winter flu – especially if you have little ones or work in an office space. Keep the sniffles away by keeping your immune system strong – make sure you’re taking a good multi-vitamin and additional vitamin C, drink plenty of water and keep your chest warm with a good ol’ fluffy scarf.
Side note – the guide to training when you’re sick: if it’s in your face – you’re OK, if it’s in your chest – stay away (from the gym, that is).
4. Keep your food light
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love myself a good winter meal and a hot desert just as much as the next person (so cozy and delicious) but all the potatoes and port add up after a few weeks. With moving a bit less than usual, a few extra hot drinks and some wintery deliciousness, it’s easy to see why we pick up a bit of extra fluff over winter. Now, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this – unless you know you’re going to kick yourself in the butt for it come summer. I can’t personally say I’m going to be eating salads all winter, but what I might do is make some veggie soups (bonus: extra vitamins), a warm salad (think quinoa, roast veggies and chicken) or some wholesome, home-made stews.
So, in summary – keep it short and intense in the gym, set yourself a huge goal and eat your veggies! Movement is so important in winter to keep the blood flowing, keep our bones and muscles strong and to get those immune systems up. We might not always feel like getting to the gym in the cold, but you’ll be sweating and packed with endorphins in no time – and come summer, you’ll be thankful you maintained your fitness.