Winter is here and for most of us, that means spending less time outside and more time snuggled up by the fire. While it can be tempting to forgo workouts when the weather is bad, staying active throughout the cold months is essential to balancing the body and mind. Instead of hibernating all season, consider shifting your routine to different forms of exercise, both indoors and out. Here are a few tips to make your winter workouts more exciting.

 

Write Down Realistic Goals for the Season

Each new season is a chance to reflect on the last. To begin the winter, write down your fitness goals for a set period of time (for example, 90 days). Try to set achievable and measurable goals, such as exercising a certain number of days each week or doing a certain number of reps. While it’s great to set higher goals than last quarter, don’t set impossible goals as this will ultimately lead to burnout, which will keep you from progressing on your fitness journey.

Some reasonable exercise goals for winter include:

  • Walk somewhere (rather than driving) at least once per day
  • Go to the gym at least three times per week. (Okay, two …)
  • Practice at-home yoga once a week
  • Try a different workout every month

 

Start a Gym Membership

In the summer, many people are outdoors walking, running, biking, swimming, and hiking for exercise. All of these can be done in the winter as well, but they take more preparation and gear. If you find the idea of running in the cold unbearable, try out a few local gyms and find one that you like. The best part about gyms is that you can choose to do solo exercise with equipment, or you can take a class led by a trained professional. It can be really enjoyable to learn a new type of exercise—Pilates, boxing, interval traiing—and different classes work different muscle groups. Some gyms even have a swimming pool and sauna to create a relaxing spa-like experience after your workout.

 

Join a Winter Sports Club

Have you considered joining an outdoor sports club this winter? There are endless groups for adults that focus on sports that don’t feel like exercise. Popular winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and ice skating get you out of your humdrum, in-house routine. While you tackle a new activity, you’ll also be able to reap the benefits of being outside in the sun, including getting fresh air and vitamin D. In addition, the consistency of a club schedule and having the same people around you all the time is a great form of motivation. Who knows—you may even meet some incredible new friends who can encourage you to achieve your fitness goals.

 

Add New Workout Clothing to Your Wardrobe

One way to motivate yourself to get to a class is to buy a new outfit for it. If you are holding yourself back from the gym because you only own tank tops and it’s freezing outside, then it’s time to add some warmer gym gear to your wardrobe. Keep in mind that exercise clothes in the winter should be worn as many light layers as possible, rather than one heavy piece. A thin top made of a wicking material is best as the first layer as you will still sweat even in the cold. Finish every outfit with a thicker fleece zip-up and sweatpants over your performance leggings. If you are exercising outside, don’t forget a waterproof layer in case it rains or snows.

 

Try Online Classes

Yes, yes ... so many zoom meetings … That’s work. Now, how to take that same platform to serve you in your fitness goals? Easy. A virtual class can be a great way to schedule some exercise during the winter when you don’t have the time to go to the gym. Without leaving your house, you can do a quick 30- or 45-minute session on YouTube, or one led by a live instructor. There’s no travel time with online classes and you can take a break in the comfort of your own home whenever you need one.

 

Don’t let a little snow or colder weather keep you from achieving your fitness goals. Changing your workout plan can be a great way to hit the refresh button and see what else interests you this winter. While the new year is often a time for resolutions, setting your goals as soon as possible can set you up for success once the new year rolls around.