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Top Tips For Staying Healthy & Motivated During The Cold Winter Months

When the sky is gray and the wind whips through the trees, it can seem like your comfy couch is calling. You're not alone if you're having trouble mustering cold-weather workout motivation or sticking to a healthy regime. These strategies can help you keep the fire going through the winter months so you feel your best when spring finally arrives.

Benefits to Cold Weather Workouts

Research supports the advantages of keeping up your exercise routine when the temperatures drop. Harvard Health says you burn more calories during winter workouts since your heart doesn't have to work as hard.1 Cold weather exercise can also facilitate the transformation of disease-causing white fat cells into calorie-burning brown fat cells, improving your metabolism and boosting the efficacy of your activities.

Try these tips if you struggle to stick to your workout regimen in the winter.

Spring Fitness Goals

Plan a fun outdoor event for the spring so you can work toward a goal during those shorter, darker winter days. Maybe you can sign up for a 5K in your city with a group of friends or plan a weekend away to a beach destination. Put it on your calendar now, and then count down the days with workouts that support your fitness objectives and get you closer to that upcoming win.

Make It Fun

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Think about your favorite ways to spend the day and incorporate exercise into your plans. Instead of meeting your friends at your go-to restaurant, make a workout date or take a fun class together. Love to try new things? Switch up your schedule with a new type of activity each week as you work your way from aerobics to Zumba.

Invest in Home Gym Equipment

Leaving the house can feel insurmountable in the winter, mainly if you live in a harsh seasonal climate with lots of snow, ice, and sleet. Instead of spending money on a monthly gym membership you won't use, consider paying those payments toward your home equipment. You can keep your workout routine indoors without wasting your hard-earned cash on an unused fitness club subscription.

Get New Swag

If it's been a long time since you updated your workout wardrobe, of course you're not excited to get out there and exercise. When you feel good in your clothes, you'll naturally have more motivation to get moving. Look for durable, high-quality workout wear that fits well and makes sense for your most frequent activities. Don't forget the shoes. They should fit well and be targeted to your specific pursuit, whether that's hiking, spin or something else.

Journal Your Feelings

Right after a workout, write down those good feelings in a dedicated journal while you're still full of endorphins. When you feel a severe lack of winter workout motivation, flip through the pages to see what you could achieve just by spending some time moving your body. Remember that you never regret working out! Getting off the couch can be the hardest part.

Warm Up Inside

Get your blood flowing with warm-up exercises to prep before any outdoor workouts. Instead of static stretches, which means you stretch the muscle from a still position, try dynamic stretches that have some flow. Think swinging or circling your arms, doing some lunches, or marching in place, all activities that lubricate and loosen the joints while warming up the muscles.

Try New Recipes

It's hard to maintain a workout routine without the right fuel. If you've been feeling like your menu is the same-old selections, try some new recipes filled with healthy ingredients. Mixing it up in the kitchen adds some excitement to the nutrient-packed meals and snacks you need for energy. Plus, you'll feel the fulfillment of learning something new! Here are two personal favorites to try.

Protein-Packed Overnight Oats

This make-ahead recipe is ready to go in the morning when you are and provides 22 grams of energy-elevating protein. With lots of fiber, it will also keep you feeling full until it's time for lunch even when your morning plans involve a rigorous workout.

  • Layer half a banana, mashed or sliced, in the bottom of your favorite microwavable food container.
  • Mix in 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1/2 c. rolled oats, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. 
  • Add 1/2 c. of your milk of choice and stir well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (hence the name).
  • In the morning, you can eat it cold or microwave for 2 minutes. Add healthy toppings like berries, nuts and seeds for an extra nutritional infusion.

Roasted Root Veggies

Even if you aren't vegan, this plant-based meal is easy enough for a weeknight and tastes incredible.

  • Drain and cube two containers of super extra firm tofu (or the firmest you can find in your grocery store.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spread cubed tofu on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 1/2 T olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. sea salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. 
  • Mix well, then add 1 1/2 c. shelled edamame, 4 c diced cauliflower and a diced head of broccoli.
  • Drizzle with another 1 T olive oil and the same spice mix.
  • Stir again then roast for 50 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until the veggies are fork-tender.

With these winter workout tips, you're ready to survive and thrive until the spring.