running shoes

It’s easy to run, walk, hike, and boot camp it up to your heart’s content when the sun is shining and it’s 70 degrees outside, but when the temperature drops and the skies turn gray, exercise becomes a task. Even still, exercise is as important to your overall health in the winter as it is in the summer. Need to stay motivated to exercise during the upcoming winter? Here’s how:

1. Invest in the right cold weather exercise gear.

It’s about finding the perfect balance of clothing when it’s cold outside. Layers are key to exercising in the winter. Exercise generates heat, but if you wear layers you can start to remove them as you warm up. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Instead, put on a thin layer of synthetic material like polypropylene to draw sweat away from the body. Also, protect your hands and head with gloves and a hat. When you’re warm enough, the sun might as well be shining.

2. Train for a race.

Training for a race is a great way to stay motivated during the winter. For one, there’s excitement at the end of the sometimes dark tunnel of winter. Additionally, you’ve already paid for something which is all the more motivation to get it done. Take it a step further and plan to run a race as part of a larger vacation. This way you’ll have the motivation of the race and excitement of planning a trip altogether. One winter, my husband and I trained to run a marathon in Hawaii. We ran throughout the winter in Washington, DC and had the continual motivation of an Hawaiian carrot.

3. Get a trainer.

Hiring a trainer during the winter months may be worth the cost. Again, your wallet can be motivation and at the same time you have someone that you’re forced to answer to if you snooze your alarm clock an hour past your morning workout.

4. Try hot yoga.

Hot yoga is a great workout and the winter is the perfect time to give it a try. In Bikram Yoga, the room is heated up between 113 and 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Enthusiasts claim it promotes cellular metabolism, detoxification, and allows the muscles to open up. Other forms of yoga heat the room up but usually not as warm as Bikram. It’s a good way to turn up the heat and detox when it’s cold outside.

5. Change your mind.

Instead of viewing winter as a cold, dark season when you’re stuck inside, change your perspective. Enjoy the solitude of this quiet season and use this time to revisit your exercise goals.

Related on Organic Authority:
Does the Best Time of Day to Exercise Exist?
Zumba: Is It the Exercise Routine for You?
The Big Debate: Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running

Image: ishtar