Winter Slowing You Down? 5 Ways to Boost Your Fitness Motivation Right Now

Yes, you can beat the winter-workout blues — here's how.

Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

If you’re anything like me, you’re proud of yourself for even making it to the gym during the winter months. The process of waking up when it’s still dark, scraping the ice off my windshield, and braving the snow makes me feel like I deserve a gold medal.

Most winters, I’m content just to barely maintain my fitness level. In recent years, however, I’ve learned a few tricks for pushing myself during the freezing winter months.

1. Register for a Spring race.
Registering for an upcoming race forces you to commit to your health and ensures that you will train to complete the event. Better yet, join a charity team and help raise money for a deserving cause. Share the news that you’ve registered for the race on social media – it will help to keep you accountable to your training. (Editor’s note: Check out our picks for the 10 best spring races in the Philly area.)

2. Take a hot yoga class.
No plans to head to Florida? Hot yoga brings the tropics to you!

Hot yoga is great for increasing your flexibility and strength. It’s also a wonderful respite from the freezing cold of winter. Nervous to try hot yoga? Try a studio that offers yoga in a warm studio and work your way up the thermometer as you feel comfortable. Fishtown’s Amrita Yoga and Wellness is a good bet, with its more comfortable infrared hot yoga classes.

3. Join a rec league.
The harsh winter weather causes most people to socialize less than they normally do during the warmer months. One way to meet new people and break a sweat is to join a rec league. With so many options out there (dodgeball, bowling, soccer, ice hockey), you’ll be sure to find a league that meets your need for fitness and fun. Many rec leagues also host happy hours for team members. It’s a great way to get out of the house and enjoy yourself.

4. Create a reward system for yourself.
Coveting the latest Lululemon yoga pants? Motivate yourself by creating a reward system. For example, if you exercise four days per week for two weeks, you can give yourself a pass to buy the pants that you want. Other reward options include: getting a massage, going to the movies, buying an indulgent pair of date-night shoes, etc. The more you reward yourself for healthy behavior, the more likely this behavior is to become a strong habit.

5. Use technology and social media to your advantage.
Using an online fitness program such as Fitocracy or MapMyRun to help you to track your progress during the winter months. Are you an avid social media user? Post your progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The support that you receive from your friends and family will become your virtual cheering squad.

Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist on staff at Bryn Mawr Hospital and in private practice in Bryn Mawr, PA.  To learn more about her practice, go here. And to read more of Lauren’s posts for Be Well Philly, head over here.