How to stay active despite the cold
Tips and advice for staying active and happy during the winter months
January is officially over and the past month has offered us plenty of time to set our New Year’s resolutions to go to the gym — and fail to do so.
However, with the winter months dragging the sun down so early and the cold restricting even a walk, activity is more important than ever. Luckily, improving habits isn’t an exclusive opportunity for January, and missteps in the first month won’t define the rest of your year.
Here are some quick tips for staying active in the winter months and how to set up systems that will help you keep the habit. With a system, you won’t only have goals but also the tools and steps to achieve them.
Get a workout buddy
Get someone to help keep you accountable to your own goals. For example, if you want to go to the gym at least three times a week, get one of your friends to start going with you. Convince your roommate to do the workouts with you so you’re not doing push ups while they try to focus on their GOVT-310 homework. Not only will this help you fulfill your own commitments, it’ll help you feel less self conscious at the gym.
If you have someone to look like an absolute fool with you while you try to figure out the leg press, you’re more likely to try it. If your partner is more experienced than you, they can even give you tips.
If you never know what to do in the gym
Going to the gym can be intimidating, especially when everyone there all seems to know what they’re doing. Enter: the Nike Training Club app, available on Apple and Android phones. During the pandemic, Nike changed the app from an exclusive subscription to a free service for anyone wanting to keep active despite gym closures. This digital platform provides workouts led by personal trainers and athletes — Megan Thee Stallion even makes an appearance — and is curated by professionals for any level of fitness. You can find high intensity workouts, weight training, mobility exercises and yoga.
There’s also various ways to do your workout from watching trainer-led videos to pre-planned workouts with exercises you can check off as you go. They also have lots of recipes for nutrition without entering the slippery world of diet culture. You can also set workout plans for certain days of the week to help lessen the stress of trying to figure out what you’re doing when you enter the gym.
If you don’t like the gym crowd
If you’re not comfortable going to the gym because you’re nervous about working out around people, or you just don’t want to add more COVID-19 exposure to your life, there are lots of options for your own space.
A great place to start are yoga channels on YouTube. With exercises that are adaptable for small spaces like a dorm or apartment, you never need much more space than your mat. If you’re more advanced, but still not a gym rat, the Fitness Blender YouTube channel has lots of videos which include equipment and non-equipment workouts that are challenging and instructive.
Yes, it’s cold and snow may be falling, but going out for a winter walk is a really great way to get moving and clear your mind. Besides, there are so many fun things to do in the snow — if it sticks. Rock Creek Park, a 40-minute metro ride from AU, makes it on every “Best Places to Sled in D.C.” list. Ice skating is also an awesome way to get off campus and do something fun.
Of course, the hardest part of being active is beginning consistent practice, but once you start it’s that much easier to keep it up. To that end, YouTuber Muchelleb might be able to help you start setting up systems that encourage you to stick to it. She offers lots of useful tips on creating good habits and maintaining systems while being self-compassionate. Her videos don’t deal with exercise specifically, but they are about setting up the systems to help with your important habits across all areas of your life. Following similar YouTubers may help you build habits that will help keep you active through the colder months.
As we move into the second month of the new year, it’s important to be compassionate with yourself as you strive to reach your goals or just try to be a little more active than last year.