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5 Motivational tips to exercise in winter

It’s early, it’s dark, it’s freezing cold, and all you want to do is pull up the covers and go back to sleep… but your alarm is insisting that it’s time to get up for your Tuesday morning Zumba class. So just how do you get motivated — and stay motivated — during the chilly winter weather?

woman jogging in the winter

As the temperature cools down, the temptation is there to skip your workout and scale back on your winter routine, but it’s important not to use the weather as an excuse. Instead, turn to these expert tips for inspiration when you need that extra boost of fitness motivation!


Get it out of the way


Training before your day has started is the most effective way to ensure you don’t skip your daily fitness fix, says Calum Wilson, director of Limitless Health and Fitness, a company which specialises in pre and post-natal training. “I’ve found that my clients struggle to find the motivation to leave home for the gym when it’s already cold and dark outside,” he says. “I recommend you train before work and get it out the way — then you can enjoy the rest of the day without worrying about fitting in your exercise.”


Swap your workout

woman working with medicine ball

If you traditionally exercise outdoors and you fear that you’re likely to can your workout when the weather is dreary, consider replacing your regular fitness routine with something else. “Most of my clients who like running or doing outdoor sports just stop during winter, but you’re much better off swapping your favourite activity with something else, like a spin class or power yoga. This way, you will continue to burn those extra calories,” Wilson says.

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Buddy up

buddy up

Nothing motivates you quite like being accountable to another person, says Sali Stevanja, co-founder of “It helps if you can buddy up with a work colleague or friend to motivate and inspire each other,” she says. “It might be a great opportunity to join an indoor fitness centre or a gym where you can try new classes or take part in team sports, while also staying out of the cold. It’s a great, fun way to meet new people!”


Dress the part

woman streching

Before you go to bed, gather your workout gear (including sneakers, socks and a towel) in one spot so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. “Spoil yourself with a new winter workout wardrobe that will keep you warm and motivate you to exercise,” Stevanja says. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear if you’re exercising outdoors: “Not only is it cold, but it can also be wet, so be careful with footwear so you don’t slip and injure yourself,” Wilson adds.

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Plan a reward

“Enter a marathon or book a beach holiday for the end of winter as your reward for training throughout the cold months,” Stevanja suggests. “It will keep you focused and help you feel motivated to stay in shape. And don’t forget: Maintaining a regular exercise regime is much easier than rebuilding it from scratch.”

Expert advice:

“It’s commonly believed that we put on an average 3 kilograms during winter, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s fair to assume that you will burn less calories during winter as you will be less active, so it’s more important to control your calorie intake and stop those extra kilos from creeping on.” — Calum Wilson, Director, Limitless Health and Fitness

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