This blog post was written by Trevor Conrod, Fitness Coach at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here.
Parties, lots of great food, and cold days of snow are all things we can expect in the coming months. By themselves, those holiday shifts could throw anyone's regular habits off kilter. But together, the winter season could be detrimental to months of self-care and hard work.
Today, we will discuss why maintaining healthy routines throughout the holiday season is crucial to a healthy mind and body. Along with that, we'll go over small and impactful changes you can include to your schedule to make sure you aren't falling into the winter workout slump.
Understanding The Seasonal Shift
While it may often feel like staying active during the colder month is nothing short of a battling feat, did you know there may be a scientific reason?
A European Journal of Preventive Cardiology study drew a "robust association between serum vitamin D levels and CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness)." The study shows that our fitness game can suffer from a lack of vitamin D, which is often the case during the dark winter.
Not only are we less motivated to work out with the limited daylight during the winter months, but now there is a seasonal chemical shift that makes doing what is necessary to stay healthy tougher.
All Or Nothing
Now that we've gone over some changes our bodies experience during the winter months, one may ask, "Why is it important to stay active during the holidays?" After all, if it's even harder to stay active than usual, how can you expect to remain consistent?
While it may be daunting to think about winter fitness, or an initial struggle to push through those first few workouts, it's important to remember why you started. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and remember how far you have come and how hard you have worked to get there.
Along with keeping your goals in mind, it's crucial not to fall into the "all-or-nothing mindset." The "all or nothing" mindset suggests that you either maintain regular habits during the winter or don't work out during the season at all. This destructive mindset is not only highly restrictive to your progress but is not a realistic standard to uphold.
By having an "all or nothing" mindset, you do not allow yourself to adapt. Some days, you may only have 70% effort to give. And with an "all or nothing" mindset, you may suggest not working out at all since you wouldn't be all to give it your all (100%). When maintaining health and fitness throughout the holidays is our goal, allow yourself to have off days. Allow yourself to have "bad workouts." And allow yourself to adapt.
Maintaining The Habit
The best exercise you can do during the holidays is any exercise at all. If you are having trouble sticking to the same routine as before, that's okay. Dial things back a bit, and work your way back up to a consistency level that works for you.
A sweet spot is around 2-3 days per week. Suppose you can maintain a minimum of 2-3 days of physical fitness per week. The chances of keeping your habits throughout the seasons are much more significant than those who stop entirely. Our bodies and minds are creatures of habit. Think about how long it took to get into a fitness routine when you first started.
Now that you've built the habit of fitness consistency, don't retrain your mind otherwise. If you maintain normalcy throughout the season, returning to full swing will be much easier come spring.
Exercising During The Holidays
Now that we know how essential exercising during the holidays is, what are some ideas to keep it interesting?
If there's one thing I know, the same old workout routine can get me bored fast! However, shaking things up and keeping your fitness regimen fresh is a great way to keep you motivated during the winter workout slump, and help you push past any plateau you may be experiencing. Here are four ways you can change your routine this winter and continue exercising during the holidays.
1. Winter Workout Partner
Are you having trouble staying self-motivated? That's where our first tip comes into play. When remaining active for yourself isn't enough of a motivator, grab a friend to add some excitement to the mix!
Not only is working out with a friend a great way to stay connected throughout the busy season, but it also serves to help keep each other both accountable and motivated to keep coming back.
2. Heartrate Rushing Home Workout
Whether it's a crazy snowstorm or you are just having "one of those days," there are times were going to the gym seems like an impossible task. That's where this tip comes into play.
Now more than ever, accessibility to home workouts has never been so effortless. From a quick before-work yoga session to an end-of-day weight session, if "I don't have time" is something you catch yourself saying more often than not, this option may be a perfect fit.
3. Dumbbell Deal Snag
There's nothing better than coming home from an exciting shopping spree! The new wardrobe additions, the bags you get to hold close containing your new prized possessions. It's a whole experience.
What if we took that same shopping dopamine hit and related it to our health journey? From new leggings to some excellent home equipment options. With winter months approaching comes some significant savings on all the fitness essentials you want!
Add some new and exciting gear to your space, and you will be surprised at your attitude toward hopping into your next training session.
4. Social Media Shares
Are your silent fitness celebrations not keeping you going? This next tip may be challenging for those who are more introverted. However, self-love and sharing your wins with others is never a bad idea.
Sharing things like "Just completed today's workout!" serves as a self-commitment for yourself and a way for friends and family to support and keep you going. In addition, being open about your fitness journey will open you up to connecting with others who may be in the same spot as you. So get out there and share away!
Sending You Off
Now that you've learned different ways to mix up your regular fitness routine and continue to exercise during the holidays, it's time to put everything into action. Remember that these suggestions can be adapted and customized to suit your personal needs. The less friction you create between you and your fitness journey, the more likely you will continue it during the holidays. Stay strong and enjoy the season!
For more on taking care of yourself during the holidays, check out this article.
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