Daylight savings has ended, the evenings are getting darker, the mornings crisper and it is natural to reduce the time we spend outside as Summer shifts into Winter. As daylight hours shorten and the weather cools down, our motivation to exercise can decrease and staying inside curling up under a blanket may be more appealing than hitting the gym. If you normally exercise outside the change to daylight hours and poorer weather can impact on the appeal to exercise in the great outdoors.
However, we know that making the effort to go to the gym or spend some time exercising outdoors pays off in the long run. Regular exercise leads to feeling better, reduces the risk of chronic health conditions and it maintains fitness. Exercise is also great for improving your mood and reducing stress as it triggers the release of endorphins or ‘feel good’ hormones. Plus, it has been shown to benefit those who suffer from depression. Being physically active also helps you to have a good night’s sleep.
So, how do you stay motivated to exercise throughout all seasons?
1. Choose Exercise You Enjoy
The more you enjoy something, the greater likelihood you will be motivated to do it on an ongoing basis. To get yourself motivated choose an activity that you look forward to and enjoy doing.
2. Plan Exercise Dates with Friends
It’s a lot harder to cancel on a friend than on yourself, plus you get the social benefit from exercising with someone else.
3. Choose Exercise Which is Convenient to You and Matches Your Lifestyle
The easier it is for you to exercise, the more likely you are to do it! If there are too many barriers to your chosen exercise routine, then it’s easier to lose motivation, especially on those dark rainy nights.
4. Build Incidental Activity into Your Lifestyle
Walk when you can, take the stairs instead of the lift, schedule walking meetings with colleagues. When there is an active option to do something, choose it!
5. Get Active While Doing Housework
There are many chores around the house that can contribute to your physical activity, such as gardening, vacuuming and housework.
Mix up your exercise routines to keep it interesting or try a new activity.
7. Set Realistic Exercise Goals
If your goals are achievable there is more chance you will feel motivated to reach them. Once you reach your initial goals, you can set some new ones to challenge yourself further.
8. Have a Backup for Bad Weather
Indoor options such as gym classes or swimming are great for rainy days or keep some activity gear at home such as weights, a yoga mat or an exercise DVD you can use, if you can’t make it out of the house.
When the weather allows, it’s great to get outside to exercise, see people and places and feel the fresh air on your skin. Heading down to your local park is an easy and affordable way to exercise outside, where you can take in the weather, changing seasons and meet people. Royal Park in North Melbourne offers an expanse of parkland with walking and cycling trails, tennis courts, playgrounds for children and is next door to the Melbourne Zoo. When exploring Royal Park, it’s easy to forget that you’re only a stone’s throw (4kms) from the Melbourne CBD.