Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts can have a tough time in winter.
Cold days and long nights make it hard to get out of bed, let alone get the body moving, but there are some simple ways to stay motivated and train smart when the cold weather hits.
“The goal is to remove as many obstacles as possible and make small changes that can make staying active easier until the warmer weather returns. At this time of year, exercise can also help to cope with seasonal depression.”
Here are Liv’s top training and wellbeing tips to keep you going in winter:
1. Layer up
When you train outside in cold weather, it’s really important to wear the correct clothing to stop you overheating or getting too cold.
We aren’t always great at dressing for the weather when it comes to training in this country. If you are too cold your muscles will seize up and you can injure yourself, but then if you get too warm that obviously isn’t great either.
So for example if you go running, I would recommend breaking it down to a fitted base-layer. Then you want a nice cosy mid-layer, which you want to be still quite fitted so it locks in the heat, but is still breathable. Then finally you want an outer-layer, which is water resistant but still light and breathable. You can then take it off if you are too hot and put it back on when you get cold. Layering is essential.
2. Stay safe
Wear reflective or bright coloured clothing when you train in the dark. Don’t wear black. Even just a hint of brightness would be better than a dark colour. For example wear a hat or headband that would stand out. Or gloves and trainers which are reflective.
3. Keep nourishing your body
It’s so easy in winter, with the dark, cold nights and mornings to just stuff your face with any old rubbish. But try nourish and fuel your body as much as possible. So for example go for something warming that will keep you full for longer, like porridge or overnight oats.
Also make sure you get your Vitamin D in, which we get from sunlight and obviously lack in this country in the winter months. So this could be in a supplement or from another source of food or drink. Also remember to stay hydrated, which can be easy to forget when the weather is colder.
4. Keep moving
In winter it’s so easy just to hibernate and think oh I’ll just wait for summer. But the best thing you can do for your health – both physically and mentally – is to keep on moving.
So when it’s cold, layer up, get yourself outside. Fresh air is always good for you no matter what the weather is like. Go for a run or a walk – even just 20 minutes will do you the world of good. You don’t have to exercise for hours, even if you just do 10 minutes of something, it’s better than just vegging out on the sofa in front of Netflix. It’s 10 minutes more than you would have done and once you have, I guarantee you will feel better as a result.
5. Make time for you
In winter it can feel harder to fit in training. It is often a busy time of year in the run-up to Christmas and life can get a bit crazy. Your exercise regime can soon end up being put to the back of the queue. When you get home after a busy day at work and it’s dark and cold, it’s difficult to motivate yourself. Equally it’s tougher getting out of bed on dark mornings.
But then we aren’t necessarily doing the things that make us feel good. So it’s about making sure you still make some time to prioritise yourself.
Don’t be afraid to take some time to step back from training if you need to, but use your time wisely.
Even if you don’t feel like training, rather than just getting home and binging on chocolate in front of the TV, get your coat on, get warm and go outside and see your friends for a hot chocolate instead. Make that time for you.
Liv’s top 3 Sweaty Betty winter picks for outdoor training
In winter it’s all about layers and I love this top. It keeps you warm but it’s still breathable. It’s made from natural bamboo and it has antibacterial properties so you don’t smell sweaty after you train.
I like it because it’s very lightweight but still warm – made with recycled feather down – and you can pack it away. It comes with a little bag, like a bumbag, so you can roll it up. You obviously can’t tie it around your waist if you get too hot while you’re out running, but you can put it in the little bag. Perfect for that layering!
They are breathable and have sweat-wicking, as well as being made with four-way stretch fabric. So they are fitted and still give you shape, but you can move really freely. What I really like about them is they are reflective. So there is that safety aspect for the darker nights.