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No Excuses: 5 Ways to Find Winter Fitness Motivation

When it feels like it’s zero degrees outside and you’re cuddled up with a cup of hot chocolate, the last thing on your mind is lacing up your sneakers and heading to the gym. Colder weather and a cozy mindset make it a lot more difficult to achieve your fitness goals. But studies show that when you stop working out—even for three to eight weeks—you could be decreasing your cardiopulmonary fitness by 20 percent. So the next time Netflix asks if you’re still watching—after hours of binge viewing—how about saying no and finding your workout gear instead?

If you’re having trouble getting to that step, check out our tips for staying active and motivated throughout the colder months.

1. Make a List

Keep a journal or a calendar, and write down a list of fitness goals you want to achieve during the holidays and beyond. Create a schedule to organize the specific objectives you’re committed to conquering each week. If writing down these ambitions in permanent marker isn’t enough to keep you accountable, involve friends and family. They’re likely to help encourage that pre-work morning run when you mostly feel like snoozing.

2. Get Creative at Home

There are hundreds of online fitness programs and apps that provide easy home workouts. Some have special features that also act as a (free) personal trainer to keep motivation strong. Try this at-home challenge: Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to maintain the progress you’ve made throughout the year.

3. Bundle Up, Get Outside, and Play

Some studies suggest that when exercising in the cold, your body works harder to stay warm, which can help boost metabolism. Use the winter weather to your advantage. For example, trudging through snow takes a lot more effort than the average walk. If you don’t already, challenge yourself to keep part of your workout routine outside. Once properly bundled and hydrated, you may be surprised to find you actually prefer working out in the cold—once you get going, the fresh air will feel great.

4. Find a Workout Buddy

What’s more fun than speed walking through wintery trails? Speed walking and catching up with your friend at the same time. Find a partner who has similar goals as you, and team up with her for regular workouts. If a pal is planning to take a spin class with you after work, you’re less likely to forgo the session. At the same time, a buddy can encourage you to push past your usual breaking point—and may bring out your competitive drive. After all, if your workout buddy can reach the three-mile marker, so can you.

5. Find Healthy Recipes for Favorite Foods

Look for friendly alternatives to your go-to holiday dishes and cold-weather comfort foods. It’s easy to get creative when you can substitute vegetables for guilty pleasures—consider the deliciousness of zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. Allow a few treats, but make this deal with yourself: For every unhealthy food you eat during the holidays, the more time or reps you add to your scheduled workouts. Such a small action will result in more self-control—not to mention an extra mile in your schedule here and there.

Remember that being active isn’t just necessary for your body, but for your mind as well. Consistently working out promotes a healthier lifestyle and helps fight depression and anxiety. Some of us are more likely to feel the blues throughout the changing seasons, so it is important to keep moving, in any way you can.

This story is fueled by EVEN Hotels. Their commitment to enable wellness in travel is more than just staying at their hotels, where wellness is built in. It’s helping wellness-minded travelers to travel well wherever their journey takes them. Discover more at  WellWellWell.com.

Photo Credit: Bill Damon