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Sticking with Your Routine in the Winter

Posted 1/19/2016 by UHBlog

If cold weather is your excuse to skip workouts, talk to us about exercise options that inspire you to move.

Sticking With Your Routine in the Winter

A lot of athletes want to hibernate through winter’s cold and darkness. But sticking to your exercise routine in the colder months can set you up for success, says sports medicine specialist Amanda Weiss Kelly, MD.

“You’ll feel better about yourself and the fact that you got your exercise in,” she says. “That can carry you through the rest of the day and help you feel like you accomplished your goals.”

Still, she understands that many people avoid exercising outdoors because it's too cold or they feel unsafe in the dark by themselves. To overcome fading motivation, Dr. Weiss Kelly recommends that you:

  • Rise and Shine – When you work out in the morning, there’s less likelihood that other things will get in the way.
    “Things tend to pile up during the day,” she says. “If you get up and get it done, it’s one less thing to have to address later.”
  • Find an Exercise Buddy – When you plan to meet someone else, you feel accountable.
    “You’re less likely to leave them standing outside when you know it’s cold and dark outside,” she says.
  • Change It Up – If crunchy snow and ice become hazardous to your running regiment, consider cycling on your indoor stationary bike or climbing the stairs in your house or apartment. For those who can afford it, you might want to join a gym for a few months or take exercise classes periodically so that you maintain your fitness goals, says Dr. Weiss Kelly.
    “I tell my patients to watch something they like on Netflix or TV while they're on the treadmill or elliptical,” she says. “You get your exercise and entertainment at the same time.”
  • Stick with Your Routine – “Studies show that if you get off your schedule, you're less likely to get back on track,” she says.
    Plus, you have to start from scratch to re-develop your exercise habit, which can take anywhere from six to eight weeks.
    “It’s hard to do and it won't feel natural at first," says Dr. Weiss Kelly about that two month period. Instead, she suggests you play mind games with yourself to keep your fitness routine intact.
    “If you don't feel like working out on any given day, tell yourself that you are just going to do 15 minutes," she says. "Usually you will feel good after 15 minutes and continue the workout. But if not, give yourself a break and take a rest.”

Amanda Weiss Kelly, MD is the division chief, Pediatric Sports Medicine at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. You can request an appointment with Dr. Weiss Kelly or any other University Hospitals doctor online.

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