Though it can be difficult to remain motivated to get up and move around as the colder months arrive and the sun begins to set seemingly as soon as it rises, it's vital to keep an active routine for not only your physical health, but your mental health, as well.
You can keep your cozy socks on, though. We won't tell anyone.
Seek out local online communities focused on your favorite physical activity. It's in these online groups you'll make connections with others who are passionate about the same things as you. It will likely also be a space for you and others to speak candidly about your struggles, triumphs and ask questions. There may also be meetups and opportunities to be active together.
Browse YouTube! You'd be amazed at the amount of quality workouts that are available free of charge on the internet. Begin by typing in keywords based on the type of workout you want to do (ex. strength training, yoga power flow, etc.) or the amount of time you'd like to spend (ex. 30-minute at-home workout, etc.). Bookmark your favorites for future use!
Dedicate 10 minutes of your day to movement of some kind. Don't stress—you don't have to always know what that 10 minutes of movement will be! If after 10 minutes of your chosen activity you feel like doing more, go for it! Even 10 minutes is better than nothing. Eventually, you'll have a routine that you'll actually look forward to.
Ponder how you can integrate more activity into your day while doing the things you already do. Arriving at work? Park a little further back in the parking lot to extend the walk to the door. Making your way to your office on the fourth floor? Get your heart rate up and take the stairs. Even small choices like walking to the other end of the grocery store to check out at the far registers add up—and matter!
Prioritize your comfort. Just like you'd never leave the house in chilly weather without a jacket, you wouldn't want to workout outside without one, either! If you're used to being active out in nature and want to continue that practice into the colder months, your best bet is to invest in proper gear to make the experience as pleasant as possible. If you're miserable while doing an activity that's supposed to bring you joy, the likelihood of you sticking with it is pretty low. Treat yourself to those new trainers you've been eyeing!
Keep in mind that physical activity looks different for everyone, so don't compare what you're comfortable doing with what works for someone else. Whether it's a brisk walk at lunch, water aerobics at your local indoor pool, or some gentle stretching at the start of your day, being intentional about your efforts has the potential to create a noticeable difference in how you're feeling during this time of year.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov 2021 issue of West Michigan Woman.