As winter sets in, the chilly weather and the sight of grey clouds can be off putting when it comes to exercising. Soon, the mantra “New Year new you” is forgotten.
But staying fit in the colder months doesn’t have to be a drag, says Hayley Madigan, a personal trainer and professional athlete with the Worlds Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF).
Having won three body-building championships in 2015, including the International Bikini Championship, she knows a thing or two about maintaining a healthy body whatever the weather.
These are seven of her most useful tips for staying active as the temperature drops.
1. Lunch time workouts
Avoid going back out into the cold after your day at work by popping to the gym or going for a quick run around the block on your lunch break. The spike of endorphins will improve your mental state in the afternoon by making you feel energised.
You will also be more likely to make sensible food choices after your workout. A 2011 study by scientists at the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found that exercise encourages healthy eating because it changes a part of the brain that influences impulsive behaviour, Medical News Today reported at the time.
2. Try HIIT workout blasts to cut your workout time
Reduce the time that you’re at the gym by introducing high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts into your routine. HIIT is brilliant for fat burning and building muscle and doesn’t need to last any longer than 20 minutes.
According to Time, experts at the American College of Sports Medicine recently found that such short bursts of exercise can help burn more fat and increase fitness levels when compared with other workouts.
3. Go to the gym with a friend
Planning gym time with a friend will keep you focused and motivated, especially on those wintry nights that make you want to hibernate. You’ll look forward to the social aspect, and reap the the physical benefits.
4. Keep up-to-date with new trends – you might find your next favourite activity
Doing so could give you some new workout ideas and you may be surprised with what you find.
5. Shake up your routine
Try a new fitness class or visit a different gym if you’re feeling unmotivated. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to get you going again.
6. Treat yourself to some new gym clothes or trainers
If you enjoy running outside then buy yourself some new warm gear that will keep you motivated on those cold nights – hats and gloves make a big difference. A study published in the ‘Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’ also recently found that changing clothing can cause a person to perform better. “It’s all about the symbolic meaning that you associate with a particular item of clothing,” Hajo Adam, Assistant Professor of Management at Rice University told The Atlantic.
7. Workout in the comfort of your own home
Clear an area either in your front room or a spare room that is just big enough for you to be able to complete body-weighted exercises, such as press ups, squats, tuck jumps and sit ups.
Now you’re ready to pop the radio on for some motivational tunes and work out in the comfort of your own home. An added bonus: working out at home saves time by eliminating travel to your local gym.