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Winter Workouts: How to Stay Motivated

Winter Workouts: How to Stay Motivated

It can be tough to get motivated for winter workouts when you’re all cozy in bed and that alarm clock goes off. Here are some tips to help you keep moving through the winter chill.

Cold weather is not my friend, and my winter workouts tend to suffer for it. I grew up in south Florida, so strapping on a pair of running shoes when it’s 20 degrees and windy sometimes feels like moving mountains. After 10 years living in a town with actual winters, I’ve learned a few ways to get myself out the door and stick with my running routine all winter long.

Motivation for Winter Workouts

Keeping Motivated for Winter Workouts

1. Remind yourself that you’ll warm up once you get started.

This might seem obvious, but when it’s freezing outside it’s easy to make lots of excuses. One thing that’s helped me keep my finger off of the snooze button is remembering that I most likely won’t be freezing for my whole walk or run. Your body heats up as you move, so after that first quarter mile, you won’t feel the cold so much. Sometimes, I have to repeat this like a mantra until I get my running clothes on, but it works!

2. If you can, work out mid-day, when it’s a little bit warmer.

I know that this isn’t an option for everyone, but those 2pm winter workouts are going to be warmer than the 6am ones. Could you fit a walk or run in on your lunch break? If you are worried about being sweaty afterwards, check out these tips on run commuting for some ideas on how to clean up for the rest of your work day without a proper shower.

3. Bundle up!

This is another one that probably seems obvious, but the right gear can make a big difference in your winter workouts. Head to an athletic store and look at gear for winter workouts to keep you warm and comfortable.

4. Safety first.

My inner mom would be upset if I didn’t mention that there are some days where the conditions are just not safe for your winter workouts. Even on days where the weather is relatively good, you need to be a little bit more aware of your surroundings in the winter. Take it from someone who has wiped out spectacularly on an icy winter run. Keep your eyes peeled for these hazards:

  • ice – A wrong step onto ice can send you flying, so keep an eye out for frozen patches on the ground.
  • holes – Snow or fallen leaves can disguise cracks in the pavement that can cause falls or even twisted ankles.

Don’t let this deter you from taking your walks or runs outside in the winter. Just keep your eyes on the ground.

5. If all else fails, move it indoors.

If you really can’t handle the cold, that’s OK! There are plenty of indoor winter workouts that you can do to stay in shape while hiding from the cold rain and snow. You don’t even need a gym membership! Try some of these:

  • yoga – Check out a yoga DVD or try this series of the best yoga poses ever.
  • pilates – You can do pilates with a DVD as well or find videos online (YouTube is your friend!).
  • free weights – Hit the athletic store and buy a small, inexpensive set of weights. If you’re new to free weights, you might like this beginner’s guide from Men’s Health.
  • 100 up – This isn’t a whole workout, but the 100 up is a great way to maintain some muscle memory, especially if you’re a walker or a runner.

I’d love to hear from some of you! How do you keep your winter workouts going, even when the weather is bad and you’d rather hit snooze a few more times?

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


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6:51PM PST on Feb 22, 2014

love love LOVE this

11:51AM PST on Dec 25, 2013

good advice - keeping active when the weather gets cold and days get shorter can be a challenge - sometimes a video of a sunny place gets me onto the stationary bike- and if it's a bicycle race, I'm encouraged to ride harder!

8:42AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

thank you

5:16AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

Personal will but never temperature counts

5:17PM PST on Dec 17, 2013

thank you

12:01PM PST on Dec 17, 2013

JoAnn P, too cold in Canada to go out? I just dress a wee bit warmer when it hits -40. If I lived up north, I would draw the line at going out in -50.

Karen F, want to swap winters? I will send Queensland our Ontario winter for a few decades and you could sent me your Queensland winters for a few decades. You will just love ours. Ontario already has high humidity in the summer so we don't need to swap summers, but you can try out our winters. I am generous, you can experience the entire season instead of yearning for "one nice crispy wintry night." I will even throw in our Political Joke as prime minister.

10:03AM PST on Dec 17, 2013

Thank you Becky.

7:38AM PST on Dec 17, 2013


3:30AM PST on Dec 17, 2013


6:08PM PST on Dec 16, 2013

Thanks for sharing Becky

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