We all know that working out is good for us and that we should plan on regular heart-rate elevation. But when the air outside is frigid and the couch looks so cozy, how do you motivate yourself to lace up and get going?
When I was a kid and had to go to the doctor, my mom always found a way to sweeten the deal. Before I could let the dread and worry of uncomfortable exams or painful shots go to my head, she reminded me that after it was all over, we’d be making a trip to the toy store. When I could have been thinking about needles and stabs, instead I was imagining the new doll that I would be playing with hours later.
I think of my mom’s trickery whenever I am second-guessing a trip to the gym. I know there are real benefits to regular exercise in terms of heart and bone health, but when the temperatures are in the single digits and tucking into bread and soup sounds a lot more inviting, a small incentive is a big help!
When it’s time to go to the gym, instead of thinking about being sweaty and tired, I look forward to:
1. Reading Juicy Magazine Articles
Sure, the doctor’s office only had Highlights Magazine, but at the gym they have a whole rack of magazines that I don’t subscribe to at home. Before I get started, I find the magazines with the most eye-catching articles, hop on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, and plan that I won’t stop until I’ve at least finished one magazine and sometimes two.
2. Catching up on TV Time
Gym-going can be a pricey extra expense. So one way that I made gym dues easier to swallow was by canceling cable at home. (In my area monthly gym dues are much less expensive than a monthly cable bill.) The machines at the gym have TV screens built in, and so now it’s a reward to go and catch up on my favorite shows. Instead of appointment television, it’s appointment exercise. I barely notice all of the calories I’m burning as plots twist and turn in front of me.
3. Listening to Favorite Dance Music
I made a play-list of songs that make me want to dance and save it for when I’m at the gym. I always get a more intense workout when the songs are ones that make me feel good and encourage me to move. Plus, with ear buds locked in tight, no one knows that I have Best Day of My Life on repeat.
4. Hydrating with Spa-Style Water
With a good hearty workout comes sweat, and if I want to keep going and have plenty of stamina, lots of water is required. By adding cucumber slices and a squeeze of lemon or lime, the water becomes so much more interesting than simple tap water alone. It reminds me of going to the spa or getting a nice massage, except all of these feel good endorphins are ones I’m creating by way of runner’s high.
5. Wearing Confidence-Inspiring Clothing
When I’m lifting weights or hefting a kettlebell and checking out my form in the mirror, I can’t help but notice what I’m wearing. Even though it’s easy to throw on sweatpants or an old t-shirt, when I wear something figure-flattering not only is it easier to see what I’m doing, it raises my confidence and makes me ready to dig in for more.
Do you find it harder to workout in the winter? If so, how do you motivate yourself to do it anyway?
Image Credit: Photos by Cadry Nelson