Don't Let Snow Stop You—5 Ways to Winterize Your Fitness Routine
by Catherine Morris | November 20, 2020, updated about 2 months ago
Congratulations! You figured out how to adapt your exercise routine in the face of your local gym having to shut its doors—you went outside! A perfect solution... in the summer, but with winter coming ever closer, and no end to the in-person fitness centre covid-closures in sight, how do you adapt?
There’s nothing wrong with curling up and enjoying some coco or a turmeric latte, but what happens to all those gains you achieved during the summer months? You've been making progress, and feeling better, but now, with the first freeze, it feels like you're in danger of letting those gains slide.
We got this. The change of season can be a great opportunity to switch up your exercise regime: discover a winter sport, join an online class, or make some minor tweaks to your schedule—it's very possible to get through winter and meet your health goals.
Read on for suggestions to keep you moving and motivated this winter.
1. Tweak Your Schedule
Personal trainer Sarah Shoemaker says you might want to become a morning exerciser at this time of year, to give yourself the best chance of success,
“Our bodies start to wind down in the late afternoon, especially in winter. Physiologically your body will respond better to exercise in the morning than in the evening. You've just had a sleep and you're restored. Your body is more receptive to physiological changes. It will take you through the day, you'll have increased energy and you'll eat better.”
Another tip is to never miss a Monday–
“Most people do around 3 workouts a week. If you get that one on Monday [out of the way] you've got just two more, and you have the next six days to do it. It is a no-brainer, get it done first thing.”
2. Stay Accountable
“It is not always accessible or obtainable for everybody to have a personal trainer, but you can get that accountability through a buddy system with friends. To have somebody hold you accountable is huge. You’ll bail on yourself before you bail on someone else. You’re not going to let them down.”
Another way to get that accountability is to set your workout in stone. Shoemaker recommends making a note on your calendar, plugging it into your phone, or setting a reminder. Anything to fix it as a permanent part of your day.
“Make it a non-negotiable in your mind. We do not negotiate brushing our teeth every day or going to sleep. Fitness should be no different.”
3. Get Creative
This is the season to try something new. Take up a fun winter sport such as snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, or winter hiking.
Just be sure to play it safe—take a buddy or let someone know where you're going, check the weather forecast for unexpected snow or icy conditions, and use the right equipment. Be careful to follow local covid regulations.
4. Upgrade Your Gear
“It's very very important to have the right gear,” says Shoemaker. “If you don't have the right gear, it will make or break your experience. Make sure you have the essentials—you're going to need some base layers.”
It doesn't have to mean shelling out for the latest, fanciest, winter apparel—buy second hand, or, if you're really organized, snap up a bargain during the spring/summer sales when many retailers are getting rid of last season's winter clothing.
5. Mix It Up With Online Fitness Options
Too frosty outdoors? Your house can double as a gym thanks to online exercise options.
With so many trainers going digital during the pandemic, it's a great time to experiment, find something fun, and perhaps link up with an online class.
Shoemaker took her clients online earlier this year, and says it's gone pretty smoothly–
“It's been a seamless transition. Set me on a counter or on the floor, and away we go. It is just like you’re there in person.”
While it's not the same as an in-person class, it definitely gets you moving and, as Shoemaker says,
“Something is better than nothing. Make it work. Be flexible with each other, and kind. This is new for everyone.”
There's no stopping the seasons. Winter is coming. So perhaps the most important piece of advice is to accept the inevitable.
Shoemaker says—“You just have to embrace it. It's not forever, and there are so many benefits to working out. Our bodies are meant to move. We need to make an effort to incorporate exercise. It doesn't have to be a structured session—put some music on and have a dance party with the kids, play. It can be anything. Don’t think about it as such a daunting thing, think of it as getting to move your body, and making yourself feel good.”
If you'd like to upgrade your fitness this winter, reach out to Which Doctor's fitness trainers and coaches for a consult today.
Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.