Forget the dog days of summer. When it comes to feeling lethargic, it’s hard to compete with January in Minnesota.
Drained from the holiday excitement and facing numbing temperatures, icy roads and sidewalks, and scant daylight hours, finding the motivation to move — much less work out — can challenge even the most well-intentioned New Year’s resolution maker.
So how do you resist the urge to hibernate and binge-watch until spring? Here are five tips to find the motivation to stay active in the dead of winter, courtesy of Amanda Monahan, a personal trainer and dietitian at Life Time Fitness in Maple Grove:
1. Work with what you have.
If it’s too cold to head outside for a run or go to the gym, exercise at home. You can watch all kinds of workout videos on your smartphone or other device. If that’s not your thing, create your own workout. Go up and down a flight of stairs every 10 minutes. Do push-ups, the plank or other body weight exercises. Jump rope in the garage. “Think outside the box,” Monahan said.
2. Mix it up.
Winter is an ideal time to shake up your usual routine. Sign up for a boxing class, schedule a session with a personal trainer or try lifting weights. If you’re losing the battle against the snooze button every morning because it’s dark outside, switch to evening workouts for the winter and enjoy sleeping in for a change.
3. Embrace winter sports.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and take a winter walk. Hit the ski slopes or go sledding. Aim for a different outdoor winter activity for one day a week. “Minnesota is really good at grooming their trails,” Monahan said. “If you haven’t tried cross-country skiing or going sledding, you’ll find out that walking up and down those hills is actually a lot of work.”
4. Conversely, turn up the heat.
Ditch the outdoors and do things that make you forget how cold it is outside. Sweat it out at a hot yoga class or in a sauna room after a tough workout. Trade your parka and Uggs for flip-flops and a swimsuit and swim a few laps in an indoor pool. If you’re a golfer, head to an indoor driving range and practice your swing.
5. Set a goal.
Sign up for a spring race and start training for it. If you belong to a gym, sign up for a monthly fitness challenge to compete against yourself and others. In winter (and anytime, really), setting a goal with a deadline is the simplest way to focus on what you’re doing and get motivated to take the steps needed to achieve it.