Let’s face it: We’ve all been there before. As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, that cold winter air starts to bite.

Instead of biting back, it usually feels so much easier (and warmer) to simply stay snuggled up indoors, rather than braving the elements, even in the name of a workout. It’s understandably tempting to let physical fitness take a backseat when the winter months arrive, but winter is also the time of year when many people gain the most weight. Between relaxing indoors, struggling to maintain a workout schedule alongside season changes and Daylight Saving Time, and indulging in too many drinks or treats over the holidays, winter can be a tough time for our fitness goals.

Luckily, by thinking outside the box, there are some ways you can beat the winter blues, stay focused on fitness, and push through any hurdles or plateaus. Here are some proven ideas:

Indoor Workouts

Who says winter workouts have to be done outdoors? Sure, it’s nice to be able to breathe in that fresh air and feel the sun’s warmth against your skin. In the winter, however, it’s the perfect time to start preparing yourself for the upcoming year. By getting creative with your workouts, you can overcome the rut and stay fit.

For instance, if cold weather is tempting you to stay indoors, listen to your body. Rather than forcing yourself to go outside, when that frigid air feels more like punishment, just try working out indoors instead. You don’t even have to purchase a gym membership. Thanks to modern technology, you can affordably stay fit from the comfort of your own home. Just try some online workout videos, such as the ones readily available on Youtube and other sites. These days, the internet is a treasure trove of creative workouts to meet any interest or need. Look for videos created by licensed instructors or professional trainers, especially ones that are free of charge.

Use It or Lose It

Good physical health should be a lifetime commitment – and for good reason. When your fitness efforts suddenly come to a screeching halt, your body and mind take a hit. All the muscle, strength, and endurance you’ve built up will start to diminish. You may experience weight gain as a result.

The time you once spent working out is now spent elsewhere, and that isn’t always for the better. Although you might not realize it, exercise is a positive coping mechanism that helps you fight the urge to pursue bad habits like gorging on junk food, smoking, and drinking. If exercise can help fight the intense cravings stemming from substance abuse, imagine the wonders it can do for your overall wellness.

Drop the Excuses

The fact that it is cold or snowing simply isn’t a good excuse to skip a workout, but what do you do when you just can’t get yourself motivated? If you prefer early-morning workouts, wake yourself up with a warm shower or crank up your favorite feel-good tunes to get in the zone. If evening workouts are your preference, avoid the temptation to stop off at home and get distracted. If you’re already out in the cold, you might as well tackle your workout head on.

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and you find that you’re still struggling in the motivation department, find an exercise buddy or spend some time setting goals. To give yourself a really good reason to work out, post your goals where you can see them as a handy reminder. If you’re extra crafty, create an inspiration board. This could also be a good time to revisit past goals and adjust them to maximize success.

Give It a Twist

Being stuck inside doesn’t mean you are doomed to endless workout videos or miles and miles on the treadmill. After all, in order to stay motivated throughout the winter until springtime, you might need to give your current exercise routine a total makeover. Why not try out a new class like barre, hot yoga, or kickboxing? Perhaps you could schedule a few sessions with a personal trainer to hone in on the areas you wish to target. You could even pick up new exercise routines and learn new things that you can continue doing even after the temperatures rise.

Remember, the gym isn’t the only place to work out while staying out of the cold. Working out in the comfort of your own home can be just as enjoyable. You might dance along to a Zumba routine, work up a sweat in your home gym, or do wall sits during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. Although it’s easy to lose motivation to work out in the winter, it can be just as easy to get it back. Be willing to try new things, set new goals, or even pair up with a partner for that extra push. Winter might be dull, but with the right attitude and a little effort, your workouts and fit lifestyle can remain fun and exciting all year round.

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