Winter exercise motivation . . .

Dark, cold, wet, windy mornings and evenings make it very easy not to exercise. When the alarm goes off and you discover the weather’s bad, it’s then when the mental decisions begin: get up and exercise, or stay in bed?

It is hard to run, walk or exercise in darkness or foul weather. Don’t let the winter excuses prevent you from achieving your goals, here some tips that may help you kick-start your winter training.

• Recruit an exercise partner, whether it is family, a friend or even your dog. Find someone who will commit to joining you for your exercise workout.

• Reinforce the ‘good’ behaviour. Every time you sleep in or skip the exercise you are reinforcing ‘bad’ behaviour. Remember, your initial goal is to become fitter, so reinforce ‘good’ behaviour early on.

• Plan rewards. Set mini goals that work towards your main goal. Reward yourself when you achieve them, but avoid rewarding yourself with sweet treats or alcohol.

• Always prepare your clothes in advance. Have your kit ready to go. Remove as many possibilities as you can of excuses creeping in.

• Invest in the right winter clothes. It is essential to have the right gear if you are exercising outside. Get the base layers on, decent gloves and socks etc.

• Have a bad weather plan. Rather than thinking, ‘I’ll have the day off’, use it to your advantage. Workout at home, there are plenty of home exercise videos on YouTube that only take 15 minutes and don’t require any special equipment.

• Perhaps rethink your alarm and use your phone to wake you up with a song that lifts your mood and energy. Something that gets you motivated and out of bed straight away.

• Change it up. Studies have shown that morning exercisers have a higher success rate than evening exercisers.

• Keep it simple. The best way to overcome excuses is to not create them. The more you have to do in order to exercise the more excuses you are able to create. Make things easier for yourself, try a 20 minute run on your lunch break for example, or a 15 minute blast workout at home.

• Tell people. Strengthen your commitment by telling people what your workout plans are later in the day. This creates a commitment with yourself to get out there and get it done.

Give one or two of these tips a try this week and find what works for you. Remember exercise should be enjoyable so it is important to find something that works for you.

Alex Cann – AC Running & Fitness

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