If you’re an outdoor exercise fan, but tend to stay in when the temperatures drop, you’re probably not giving yourself enough time to acclimate. It takes time to get used to different temperatures, no matter if you’re going from hot to cold or vice versa.”
To acclimate, of course, you’ll have to keep working out through the cold. A little Catch-22, we know. It does help to warm up inside first, before venturing out. Take five to 10 minutes and do some low level aerobic exercise like jogging in one spot or doing jumping jacks. That way, when you step outside, you’ll already be warm. Dressing properly can also help. Wear layers, so you can peel them off as your body temperature increases.
Dedicated gym-goers can also be affected by the weather, as the lingering darkness in the morning and the early evenings can sap anyone’s motivation to hit the health club.
If that’s your problem, you may need a contingency plan. A stair climber, stationary bike, and exercise videos you can rotate through. If exercising at home is an option do whatever you can to make it entertaining. You might, for instance, place a TV in front of a home treadmill so you don’t get too bored.
This is the time, too, to call on your friends. Even if you usually exercise alone, you may need someone to help keep you motivated. Many studies have shown that social support helps keep people active. Reconfiguring your schedule is another possible solution. If cold and darkness discourages you from morning exercise, try to take a brisk walk or an exercise class during your lunch hour.
Sometimes you are simply not able to get around the environmental barriers that hinder exercise, and you may have to settle for less. If you’re going to slip, try to at least do aerobic exercise three times a week. If you think about exercising on one of the weekdays, say, Wednesday, then on both days over the weekend, that’s really not too hard.
And studies show that decreasing the number of days you exercise doesn’t hurt if you maintain the same intensity and time.
If you weight train, you may be able to cut back with little repercussion, too. People who lift weights one to three times a week and cut back to once every two or even four weeks (without changing the amount of exercise per session), shows no significant decrease in strength for at least 12 weeks.
So, backsliding doesn’t have to spell the end of hard-earned exercise accomplishments. Call a friend to work out together, at least twice a week. Making a commitment that affects another person’s health, in addition to your own, may make you more likely to get off the couch, and get with the program.
Our Sports Nutritionist experts can also help you adjust your diet or program to prevent you from slacking off too much. Please speak to any of our experts or pharmacists, to ensure this winter doesn’t affect your winning ways.