How to Stay Engaged in Exercise Come Winter, With the Help of an Expert

winter exercise

The end of daylight saving is just around the corner, and with it comes darker mornings. And hot on the (lack of) daylight savings tail, is winter. Yes, it’s that time of year — forgive us if we’re a little premature, but we’re a quarter of the way through the year already, and it feels like it’s only been a week.

So in other words, as Game of Thrones infamously said: “Winter is coming.” Darker mornings, darker nights, colder days = more time spent in bed. Aaaand…less incentive to get up and exercise. There’s even science behind why it’s harder to exercise in winter.

But don’t worry, we talked to an exercise expert to get all his tips, just for you. Ben Lucas, director of Flow Athletic — the company that offered Aussies a free month of workouts last month — has got you sorted come the cold season.

Lucas agrees with us that it’s harder to train in winter, especially with darkness encompassing both ends of the day, “which tells our bodies that it’s time to rest up, therefore tak[ing] away motivation.” He also confirms that the cold doesn’t help as “most of us want to be rugged up at home.”

As for our bodies? “[They] can also feel a little stiffer, and harder to kick into gear in winter too.”

Emotions come into play too, as “people can feel a lot flatter.” He emphasises this can be worse for people “strongly affected by the seasons” — “SAD disorder, as it’s commonly referred to.”

It’s not all doom and winter gloom though. Lucas says the main thing to get up and going during winter is “routine and habit.” Yes, that involves setting your alarm and dragging yourself out of bed the first time it goes off (it’s actually not good for you to press the snooze button too much!), and go for a walk or workout.

“The key thing is to commit to your plan.”

His next tip would be “to choose something you enjoy doing.” Some people don’t want to just go to the gym in the early morning, so he suggests “trying a different style class” or consider “Sign[ing] up to an online program like FlowAthletic TV” so you can just roll out of bed and get into it.

Another idea he has? “Sign up to something like a fun run, as it gives you something to train for, and a date to be ready by.” And never fear, he’s got some running tips for any newbies too.

He recommends yoga and reformer pilates, as “They often start a little slower to warm up those colder muscles.” On the opposite end of the workout spectrum is strength training, something he recommends not only for the almost instant benefits but as it’s “important for your bone health” — something that’ll help later in life.

As for how exercising during winter benefits you? “It’s great for your mental health, your body and metabolism, and should help you sleep better at night” — the latter of which us Australians are stressing away.

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.