I am not one to brag, but credit where credit is due. I am exceptionally good at getting out of bed.
I have done it over 10,402 times in my life, and as much as 3/4 of these were done without assistance. I practice every day, and have kept intricate notes on how and why I do it. And here they are for all to share!
But before we start the list, take a look at what your current thought process is on winter. If it’s ‘winter is miserable, I’ll start again in Spring’ or similar, we need to re-check, before we even get to other tips.
Winter is cold- true. But cold can be invigorating and energising. If you are in a winter rut kinda of space, we need to re-check our approach to Winter and list out some of the best parts about it, like crisp blue skies, and fresh mornings. Sounds horrendously lame, but it’s worth the check in!
Now that is out of the way, here are 5 ways to ensure you keep to your morning exercise routine in the cooler months.

Have a REALLY good reason to get out of bed.
I can count on 1 hand the times I have hit snooze and have been outside at 5 am in minus degree weather with success, a number of times. How is this possible? Because I had a good reason! I wouldn’t do it otherwise. I am human. If the alarm goes off, it’s cold and I am not ready to get out of bed, and have nothing pressing to get me out, I won’t. Simple. I have no other special motivation or inspiration other than that. Either someone is waiting for me (training buddy, a client, my coach) or that I want the results which come from getting out of bed MORE than the comfort I get from being warm and snug.

“Being active in winter is a mind game, know this and play it to your advantage.”

Have a Winter goal.
This point speaks to the previous point. If you have a really good goal that requires you to get to gym or to training, then you will go. It’s not always possible to have a training buddy, so you need to set yourself up for success by being clear on what you want. If it’s not important or meaningful enough, you won’t go. Think 5km race, undertaking an 8 week strength program, aiming not to put on weight during Winter, improving your flexibility, creating a new habit to see you into Spring. All good places to start!

Prepare the night before & reduce decisions.
This is important, as many a morning minute has been lost to looking for a second sock or ummm-ing over the days outfit. Before you go to bed, pack your bag, lunch, or anything else you need to take for the next day and leave it near the front door, so you trip over it and won’t forget.
Reducing the number of decisions also is a biggie. The less decisions you have to make the better, especially first thing in the day. ‘Decisional fatigue’ is when you have so many options, you make no decision, and end up where you started. Know what your first 3 moves for the day will be the night before, and then all you have to do is execute. Know what exercise you are doing, what you are having for breakfast and which way you are going to do to work. The less decisions we have to make last minute, the better the outcome!

“If you have a really good goal that requires you to get to gym or to training, then you will go.”

Start small.
If you are not a morning person, or just not a winter morning person, and need to get up a bit earlier to get activity in, start by getting up just 20 minutes earlier to walk or prepare for the day, and add in another 20 minutes every few days. You may need to do this on the weekends too, until it becomes habit. You will also need to look at getting to bed earlier, as getting enough sleep total is important to getting through the day and having a sustainable habit. That said, you don’t have to get up in the morning if evenings suit you better. If you can go straight from work, or go in your lunch hour to do some activity, do it!

If you don’t want to go, compromise.
Being active in winter is a mind game, know this and play it to your advantage. My usual go to compromise is, ‘you only have to go for 20 minutes’. It’s short enough not to be daunting, but long enough to get into a groove and end up staying. If after 20 minutes you are done, then you have at least done something towards your daily movement needs!

These are just 5 ways, there are certainly more. A personal foot heater that followed me everywhere would be one other if I knew they existed. The key point is, that winter is cold and a bit uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as you will feel if you take the path of inaction and have extra kilos hanging around come Spring. Just a few small changes and a ‘cold is fine OK’ attitude will keep you out of the woods and generating your own warmth all winter!

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Harriet Walker
Harriet Walker resides in Canberra ACT and leads a busy working life as Nutritionist and Dietitian, Personal and Trainer and also for the Physical Activity Foundation - [More Kids - More Active - More Often] implementing activity programs and healthy messages throughout ACT Schools. Harriet is also a regular feature writer on numerous topics relating to nutrition, wellness, and fitness.