I get it, it’s hard to find time to workout but it’s REALLY hard to find time (and motivation!) during the winter months when it’s cold all the time and the days are short. If you’re used to waking up early to squeeze in a workout before your kids get up, the dark mornings make waking up less than appealing. If you’re used to working out later in the day when your kids go to bed or when a partner can take over, the dark evenings and cold weather make it very easy to say, “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” There’s no doubt that the winter months make you want to hibernate and hide from your daily activities but there’s no need to do that anymore! I know what you’re thinking, “Great, now I have no excuses”, and you’re right. I’m going to help you get over your workout motivation hump and give you some easy tips to get back on the exercise wagon all the way through the cold winter months so that you’ll be in tip top shape come April.
Join a gym with a daycare – I can’t stress enough how amazing it is to have a gym that also has childcare. This is a win win situation. You get to workout and your kids get to burn off some of that energy they have stored up from being cooped up inside. Gyms have so much to offer too. You can vary your workouts so that you don’t get bored and you never have to worry about the weather or how light/dark it is outside.
Workout in the comfort of your own home – I love this option. I am fortunate enough to have my very own treadmill so I can workout whenever the kids are taking naps or asleep but I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to have the means or the space to purchase home gym equipment. Actually, all you need is an internet connection. There are hundreds of workout videos online and you can even do them with your kids. My son thinks it’s hilarious when “mommy doing exercise”. I can usually sit him on the couch with a snack and have my baby sit in her bumbo or the swing to get in anywhere from 20-60 minutes. My current favorite is Jullian Michales 30 day shred because there are 3 levels and each level is only 20 minutes long. You can find all sorts of videos ranging from barre type exercise to yoga/pilates to kickboxing.
Move with your kids – Have you ever tried to follow a child around from the time they get up until the time they go to sleep? If so you know it’s exhausting and you understand why they need those massive naps in the afternoon! Even if you don’t have a toddler, there’s plenty of lifting that’s being done with a baby. There are even videos online for doing baby yoga and baby power sculpting exercises using nothing more than your babies weight! But back to the toddler, if you choose to follow your child around, you will end up burning off plenty of those extra calories just by mimicking what they do.
Go swimming with your kids – If you end up joining a gym, sometimes an indoor pool is also included in the membership. Following a child around a pool is a great way to move. You can also get creative by lifting your child in and out of the water or if your child is older say 3-7 age range, you can run in place while you watch them play. If they are really good swimmers you can even tread water while you watch them in the pool.
Bundle up and go outside – I don’t care if it’s 32 degrees and snowing or 60 degrees and beautiful, the winter months can be amazing to get outside and have fun with fitness! When I only had one baby I also owned a single jogging stroller. We went out in pretty harsh conditions. Rain or snow, we were out running. But, you don’t have to run to get some exercise in. You can bundle your kids up and play in the snow, go sledding, or put them in a stroller and go for a brisk walk. This option is nice because it can happen at any point in the day that’s convenient for your schedule.
Every little bit counts – I love a clean house so that means I am doing A LOT of picking up during the day. I am using the stairs, vacuuming, bending over, scrubbing, sweeping, wiping, and cooking and cleaning up that mess. It’s never ending. The house can never be clean enough so use that time to really work up a sweat. Don’t just bend over, lunge to pick something up and use your legs and not your back (a good practice anyways to spare your back from overuse). Lift heavy objects out of the way like chairs when sweeping the floor or vacuuming. Use a step stool and doing several steps on it when dusting hard to reach areas. These are just a few suggestions but you can get really creative with what you can do while cleaning but if you want more here is a resource.
The bottom line is to just keep moving. When it’s cold out remind yourself that you’ll warm right up the more you move. You’ll also feel better about treating yourself to those extra delicious holiday cookies. Exercise also helps combat seasonal depression that starts occurring from short days. The more you move the better off you’ll feel and the easier it will be come spring time to fall right back into your warm weather activities. You’ll have more energy and feel more refreshed the more you move. So go ahead and give these cold weather activities a try. You may just end up liking a few of them 🙂