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How to stay fit during the winter months

winter fitness

By Tiffany K. Gust, MS

Now that the temperatures are dropping, perhaps your motivation to be active has dropped as well. Exercise can actually help beat those winter blues, and boost your immune system to avoid those winter colds.

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and fit during the colder months.

Change your routine

If you normally exercise indoors, try a workout in the warmer part of the day and reap the rewards of some extra vitamin D. Nair and colleagues studied the benefits of Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin, and emerging research supports the possible role of vitamin D against heart disease, fractures and falls, cancer, autoimmune disease, influenza, type-2 diabetes, and depression. Winter is a good time to check out a new hiking trail or walking path. Especially here in St. George, where we have so many options available.

Set a goal that motivates you

Pick a goal that goes into Spring and has a date attached to it. Perhaps you want to sign up for a 5K event, or a Pickleball tournament? According to Psychology Today, competition motivates individuals to do the most exercise every week by creating an aspirational mindset. In fact, attendance rates were 90% higher in groups where competition was incorporated. Setting a goal that will get you moving during those colder months, can get you in tip top shape for when the weather starts to warm up.

Get a workout partner or join a fitness class

Combining social and fitness is a great way to keep you accountable and motivated at the same time. Find someone who you enjoy spending time with and has similar goals. This could be a family member, neighbor, or a meet up group in your community.

Invest in the correct clothing

Clothes don’t have to be bulky to keep you warm. Choose fitted clothes that will allow you to move and stay warm at the same time. Lightweight gloves and hats can provide protection, but not cause you to feel like you’re in Antarctica. Waiting until later in the day when the sun is shining can also help you feel energized and provide a bit more warmth.

Get enough sleep

Exercise has been shown to have effects on sleep. One meta-analysis found that exercise training generally results in modest improvements in sleep, and who can’t benefit from extra sleep? “Exercise interventions might be sufficient to improve both sleep and physical-activity levels in some people.” Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D.

Make yourself a priority and reap the benefits both physically and mentally as you get fit this winter.