Does this sound like you? During the summer, you're a workout fanatic... swimming, running, hiking under the warm sun, keeping that body healthy and in ship (or beach) shape. Or maybe you're a little less vigilant, but you still try to hit the gym every few days.
Then, IT happens: daylight-saving time ends, and you find it hard to get out of bed and, by nightfall, you'd rather curl up with a book than go for a run. The winter months can be brutal for fitness routines.
Some people are dedicated gym-goers and aren't much affected much by the weather. However, the lingering darkness in the morning and early evenings can sap even the hardiest gym-lover's motivation to hit the gym. If that's your problem, you may need a contingency plan. For example, get some exercise equipment to use at home: a stationary bike, treadmill or exercise videos to rotate though. If you do exercise at home, though, be sure to make it entertaining. Read a book or place a TV in-front of your equipment so you do not get bored!
On the flip side, if you're an outdoor exerciser who has slacked off since the temperature dropped, you may not have been giving yourself enough time to acclimate. To acclimate, you'll of course have to keep working out through the cold, but it will be easier to make yourself go outside if you warm up inside first! One idea is to take five to ten minutes and do some low level aerobic exercise like jogging in place or doing jumping jacks. That way, you'll already be warm when you head outside. Dressing properly can also help. Wear layers so you can peel them off as your body temperature increases.
No matter your preference (gym vs. outdoor), thought, now is the time to call on your friends! Even if you usually exercise alone, we could all use someone to help keep us motivated. In fact, many studies have shown that social support keeps people active. Reorganizing your schedule is another possible solution. For example, if cold and darkness typically keeps you from morning exercise, try to fit in a brisk walk or an exercise class during your lunch hour.
Backsliding on your fitness due to Winter doesn't have to be the end of your hard earned results. Call on a friend (perhaps even make a commitment to each other to workout at least twice a week), mix up your routine or make it possible to work out at home. All of these will keep the effects of Winter at bay, make you more likely to get off the couch, and get with the program!