Even though I live in the South, there are a lot of mornings where the temperatures drop below freezing. Yesterday morning when I checked the weather on my beloved iPhone, it was 38 degrees. Brrrr.
I remember driving to work in early winter mornings before I had children and I would see people running alongside the road, their breath puffing out into the frigid air. I would disdainfully say to myself, “Why in the world would anyone get out and exercise in sub-freezing temperatures? What are they trying to prove?”
Yes, I admit it. I was judging those people because I felt guilty that I had not exercised regularly in years and was rapidly gaining weight. As I went from just overweight to morbidly obese, I began even more critical of folks who exercised in the cold (or hot) weather. “Really,” I’d think to myself, “What are you trying to prove?”
Once I began exercising in earnest and saw the pounds and dress sizes falling away, I changed my attitude towards people who exercised in inclement weather. In fact, I became one of them!
Over the 16+ years that I’ve maintained my weight loss, there are very few days where I skip my exercise because of cold weather. When it drops below 15 degrees or if the ground is slippery with ice or snow, I find a workout to do indoors rather than skipping it completely. I feel sure that if I lived in the North, I’d likely invest in a treadmill or a gym membership.
What changed for me?
I realized that people who exercised in the cold weren’t trying to show off or prove something to those of us driving by. Instead, they were exercising for themselves. For their health, their weight management, and for their emotional health. I became one of the “I believe in exercise people.”
If you ever find yourself tempted to skip a workout because of cold weather, here are 5 reasons to get up and exercise.
1. Exercise can help you compensate for extra calories we may tend to eat during the holiday season. Although I’m not an advocate of eating your exercise calories burned, I do understanding that those calories burned during exercise can help us with weight management.
2. Winter exercise helps you stay consistent. If you find yourself wanting to slack off during the winter, you may find it hard to get started again once the weather turns warm because you are out of the habit. Doing some form of exercise all year long is the best way to keep exercise as a habit and not an occasional endeavor.
3. It’s a great time to try something new. If you live in a climate that makes outdoor exercising impossible, these winter months are a great time to focus on strength training, flexibility, or adding a new cardio routine to your workout. We have a heated indoor pool at the university here, and it is kinda fun to go swimming on a morning where the temperature is in the 30’s!
4. You can get new workout clothes. I know that’s a silly reason, but you do need different clothing for winter workouts – right?
5. You will never be sorry. I’m never sorry when I drag myself out of bed on a frosty morning and exercise (either indoors or out). However, I am sorry when I just skip my workout because I don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to dress in layers or be cold until my body gets warmed up once I’m actually exercising.
How do you do with winter workouts? Have you ever let exercise fall by the wayside when it gets cold or are you consistent year-round? Diane