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If you’re anything like me your exercise programme takes a severe nose dive during the Winter months but how can we try and keep things going, whilst staying safe, when the nights are cold and dark?
One thing that really helped me through last winter was joining a running group. I stopped running on my own as I live in quite a rural village and felt it wasn’t safe to go out on my own.
I then found a small running group whose meeting point was very close to my office. I went out with them once a week and then met a couple of ladies from the group on another night and also managed a day time run at the weekend which meant I didn’t miss out at all.
The support and advice I received was great and really helped me improve my pace.
If you do go out exercising after dark, keep to well-lit areas and wear bright and reflective clothing. Ideally, exercise with a friend, but always tell someone where you’re going.
Avoid listening to music while running outdoors. Not hearing what’s going on around you can make you vulnerable especially with the added factor of poor visibility.
If rain or ice is making exercise dangerous, do it another day. The weather might be better tomorrow, but an injury could take weeks to heal.
It may be time to shake things up a little – why not find something different to do this winter. Try something new. There's nothing like signing up for a new class or joining an indoor league to get you motivated during winter months. By trying something new, you reignite your motivation for fitness, cold weather and all!
Whether it's indoor volleyball, a dodgeball league, a boot camp class or even tennis lessons at a local indoor club, participating in a regular activity that you've paid for (or have team mates counting on you to play in) is a fantastic way to stay active in the winter time.
You might even make some new friends or learn some new skills. Check out your local sport centre for class times.
Set a new goal. If Winter weather leaves your motivation to exercise down in the gutter, then spice things up a little by adding a new goal. It can be anything from losing that last half a stone, to running a 5K – make sure you chose a goal that you really want and that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone to reach it.
Get creative at home - work out at home, where it's warm and dry. Whether you pop in a new workout DVD or invest in a few pieces of equipment (you can always use tins of beans or soup), exercising at home can be a convenient solution to staying on track.
Go out and play! If you simply can't find the energy to work out this time of year, try "playing" instead. You can burn lots of calories playing indoors or out. The best part about playing is that it doesn't feel like working out and you can do it with the family — you can still get your heart rate up and have an excellent workout.
Have a blast in the Winter wonderland outside by making snow angels (214 calories burned per hour on average), having a snowball fight (319 calories burned per hour), or even building a snowman (285 calories burned per hour).
No snow in your area? Try ice skating - many towns and cities now have their own rink and it’s an activity you can do indoors or outdoors. Ice skating can burn more than 450 calories per hour—and it's a blast! Or why not pop on your favourite music CD and dance for a couple of hours (360 calories per hour on average).