It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when it’s cold and miserable outside. When the rain lashes down, and your running shoes are still damp from the last time you went out.

You can, of course, swap your outdoor activity for something in the warm. Go to the gym instead. Or take up an indoor sport such as badminton. But even then, you might still need help to motivate yourself and to actually get moving and out the door.

While indoor activity might be more appealing, there are considerable benefits to continuing to exercise outside, even in the cold.

Benefits of exercising in the cold

  • By embracing the cold and wet, you can blow the cobwebs away and experience the changing seasons.
  • You’ll promote the release of mood endorphins, helping to shift a low mood, anxiety, or stress.
  • Your heart doesn’t have to work as hard when it’s cold. So, you sweat less and expend less energy.
  • You exercise more efficiently because you sweat less and expend less energy!
  • Plus, if you can motivate yourself to get outside, you access sunlight, which can really help with your mood on shorter winter days.

Now you have the benefits. How can you motivate yourself?

  • Exercising with a friend is easier, more fun, and keeps you on track (motivated to continue your exercise plan or routine).
  • Keep your goal in mind always. So, what is it you are training to do or what are you hoping to achieve?
  • Get yourself an app, Couch to 5k, for instance, and you can find out more here. Or why not ask your friends for a recommendation?
  • Make a plan for the colder months. Think of new routes you can try and keep a journal of your activity, which could help you plan for next Winter.
  • Decide how you will reward yourself for your continued effort, and link this to milestones instead of the end result to keep you motivated.

The benefits of exercise are well documented, and I have written about them many times. Good for your well-being – mind, body and soul. So decide that you want to continue, and find ways to make exercising in the cold easier for you. Make it something you get and want to do.

A couple of other tips for you. No matter how cold, always stay hydrated and warm up and down. Dress for the weather, think layers, and always dry your shoes before using them again. Hands and fingers can get really cold, so wear gloves and keep those ears covered. And if exercising at night, invest in high-vis accessories.

A huge fan of the outdoors, no matter the weather. Although a walk with the dog is a little different from exercising, the benefits are similar. It’s about getting out of the house, heart beating and blood pumping, releasing the endorphins, and letting the stress leave you.

All I ask is that you are careful, so watch out for leaves, wet roads and pavements and make sure you are visible. And if you sustain an injury, although I hope you won’t, please come and see us and don’t leave it until the pain is too much.