The winter can definitely put a damper on anyone’s fitness routine, which is why we’re putting together some really helpful, realistic, cold weather fitness tips to help you out as things get chilly. Between the can’t-resist holiday foods and the bitter cold weather that will be here before you know it, we’re all going to be more inclined to stay home and just eat our weight in comfort food.
I know first-hand that the struggle is legit and following all the expert tips are easier said than done. That’s why I’m here for you! We’re in this together, mamas!
So check out these 8 smart cold weather fitness tips to help you stick to a routine or get back into one. Hey, weight maintenance aside, I know I can use as many endorphins as possible pumping through my body right now. You too?
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1. Make it a date and it becomes an appointment
For me, it’s almost impossible to exercise consistently when I’m tasked with doing it by myself, but when I have friends — or even my kids — counting on me to go for a walk, run, or bike ride with them, it’s so much easier to stick to my plan. Text a group of neighbors to join you at a kickboxing class, ask other moms to go for a bike ride with the kids trailing behind, or schedule an every-other-day phone call with your long-distance best friend while you both venture out on a long walk. Better yet, bring the kids along when you’re heading out for a hike or a bike ride. They probably won’t let you off the hook on a cancellation as easily as your friends would!
2. Join a class for some peer support, and peer pressure.
If exercising with friends outdoors doesn’t work for you, then maybe finding weekly workout class is the best option. It will get you in out of the cold, and over time you’ll end up with familiar faces and supportive acquaintances to connect with at the end of your workout. Plus, you’ll be more likely to push yourself when there’s an instructor keeping an eye on you and encouraging you to get in that one last pushup.
Kristen tried out the Barre workout trend and has become a big fan. I’ve discovered my inner party girl at the Zumba class at my local Y. And our contributor Caroline and I got to know each other up close and personal when we tried a self-defense exercise class together at a local martial arts studio. Whether you’re a yogi at heart or your style leans more toward spin, dance, swimming or racketball, find something you enjoy so much you’ll look forward to returning to the class week after week.
3. Freshen up your winter fitness wardrobe.
Having a couple new pieces of fitness gear always make me more excited to get out there and exercise. Something about a pair of new long running tights from Lululemon to keep my legs warm feels inspiring. For purely practical purposes, I love my affordable Lizze pullover from High Sierra. I grab it anytime I need an extra layer of warmth, because it’s so comfortable.
Whether it’s new running shoes or a great wearable fitness tracker any little bit of motivation you need to get out there, burn some calories, and use your new stuff can be a big help.
If you’re looking for something brand new and fun, you have check out the cool collaboration between Rachel Roy and Sen One, shown above. I love the graffiti leggings which make a serious statement and are sure to brighten up any winter blues.
Oh, and be sure to check out our pro tips for choosing a good sports bra. Essential stuff.
4. Get the right gear.
Beyond what you wear, think about what else you’ll need — a new yoga mat? Weights? Even a great water bottle can offer some motivation you need to put them to use.
If you’ve got little ones, check out a good jogging stroller for those days it’s not frigid out. Lately, I’ve been loving the new-and-improved Bumbleride Indie (or their double stroller version) which offers a smooth ride, plenty of room for my kids, and easy access to the storage basket so I can grab (or stash) whatever my kids want without having to slow down. Plus, it’s lightweight so running uphill is not a total nightmare.
And if you are out jogging or walking with your stroller, consider some sort of handmuff. I admit I wasn’t completely sold on the need for the Stroll & Go On Call hand muff (above) from Skip Hop when I first saw it, but now that it’s getting colder I realize it’s letting me keep an eye on my route, and my Apple Health stats while I’m jogging.
5. Make one small change to your diet.
So I’ve learned that if I start with one small dietary change, I have a lot more success — and that goes double in winter when our bodies may be craving simple carbs for energy we’re losing from the lack of light. For example, one small change you can try is to cut out sodas and juices, and swap in water each time. Or give up your one downfall binge food (Cookies? Pringles?) and vow instead to grab a handful of fresh fruit or raw veggies when those cravings hit. Really…just one change. You can do one, right?
6. Do something (anything) every day. No excuses.
A body at rest….well, you know. So don’t stop! Even if it’s a white-out blizzard out there. And don’t create excuses if you miss a day, either. If you didn’t get in those 10,000 steps before the kids got home from school, the day is not a wash; start with a short stretching session while the kids do their homework, or have a sit-ups and jumping jacks competition with your kids before bed.
My new favorite quick-fix is to spend 5 minutes doing a burst workout — short intervals (1 minute each) of intense exercise for about 5–10 minutes total. Alternate between squats, punches, and fast running in place. It’s amazing how much you can get your heart racing in such a short time, and intervals of rest and activity have a bigger impact on your overall health than you’d expect. Plus, it takes 5 minutes. You can squeeze that in at some point, I promise, all right at home without even putting on a snowsuit.
Lavender Latte recipe | Fox and Briar
7. Create healthy rewards for yourself.
When you’ve made the effort to get outside and get fit, reward yourself with something warm and comforting back home when you’re done. Start a pot of coffee or hot tea before you leave for your run so you can have a delicious warm drink ready for you when you get back. This Lavender Latte recipe we found at Fox and Briar looks like the perfect relaxing drink to have after your post-run shower.
8. Visualize summer.
While I don’t always feel inspired to exercise in the winter, I try to remind myself that long days and blue skies are right around the bend. And that means short sleeves, tank tops, and (eep) bathing suits. Plus, you’ll need more energy then to keep up with the kids! I know that the more I can stay in shape over the winter, the better I’ll feel when it’s suddenly 100 degrees outside and my family is begging me to play kickball. I’m a big believer that visualizing summer can help you power through the cold and keep on working for a stronger, healthier body every day. So, get out there — you deserve it.
Top photo by Francesco Gallarotti for Unsplash