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Beat the Winter Blahs with Exercise

Spice up your workouts


Updated July 16, 2013

Beat the Winter Blahs with Exercise
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Bleh. That's what many of us think when we look out the window during the winter months and see snow, rain, clouds, and gray skies. It's tough sticking with an exercise program when all you really feel like doing is hibernating, but there is something you can do to make exercise more appealing. Moving your workouts inside can be a hard transition, but if you take some time to plan more interesting workouts, it doesn't have to be another blah winter.

Spice Up Your Cardio

The cold weather often makes outdoor exercise a challenge, which means more indoor workouts. If you dread the 'dreadmill,' there are ways to make your cardio workouts a little more interesting:

  • Break up your workout. Separate your workout into segments, each with a different focus--speed, incline, resistance, steady state, etc. By changing your workout every five minutes, you get variety and, because you're focusing on just a few minutes at a time, the workout will fly by. For a challenge, try this 30-Minute Boredom Buster Treadmill Workout.
  • Make a cardio medley. Instead of getting on the same machine every time, pick 3 different machines and workout on each one for 10 or so minutes. For a real challenge, try this High Intensity Medley Workout.
  • Be creative. Look around the gym and see if there are other ways to get in your cardio. Look for a flight of stairs to run up and down or a space where you could jump rope. Walk on the treadmill and then go outside and run around the building for 5 minutes. Look for different things you can do to break up your usual routine and add excitement. For a challenging circuit workout, try this Advanced Intense Interval Workout.
  • Try something new. We all have our favorite machines--the ones we gravitate to every time we go to the gym. Winter is a great time to experiment with something completely different. Challenge yourself to do something new. When was the last time you tried the rowing machine or the stationary bike? What about the heavy punching bag in the corner? Moving your body in a different way can rejuvenate your workouts.
  • Try group fitness. Even if you're not into group fitness classes, giving one a try can give you new enthusiasm for your workouts. Pick up a schedule at your club and make a deal to try one new class every two weeks. You pick up energy when you workout in a group setting--take advantage of it.

Spice Up Your Home Cardio Workouts

If you're a home exerciser, it may seem even harder to get in your workouts since you may not have access to all the machines available at a gym. However, you have even more flexibility since you can use videos, go outside, try exergames or just make up your own workout right in your living room. Music is one way to motivate yourself, so put on your favorite workout playlist and start moving. Keep it simple by choosing some basic cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, jogging in place, front kicks, side shuffles, jump rope, etc. and do each one for a minute or so. Even if you only go for 10 minutes, that's 10 minutes you're not sitting around watching TV. Some home workout ideas:

If you are watching TV, why not use it to fuel your workouts? Do jumping jacks, run around the block or lift weights during commercial breaks. If you have cardio machines at home, decide you'll workout for the length of one 30-minute show. Add high intensity sprints during the commercials for a more challenging workout.

Workout Videos and Exergames

Another great option for cold weather exercise is a collection of exercise videos and games. Even if you're not usually a fan of videos, it's a good idea to keep a stash handy for those days when the weather's bad and you want something quick and easy. Videos are inexpensive and allow you to try a variety of activities in the privacy of your own home. Exergames aren't always as intense as regular workouts, but they can be a fun add-on to your other workout and something the whole family can enjoy. Some ideas include:

If your energy is flagging this winter, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. However, staying active is the best way to boost your mood and energy levels. Having a variety of options is the key to keeping winter exercise on your to-do list and those extra pounds off your waistline.

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