As the winter weather sets in, the days become shorter, the sun sets earlier, and it becomes more and more tempting to hit snooze on the alarm at 6am rather than hitting the road or gym. Winter shouldn’t be a time that your fitness plans and goals hibernate. With the right attitude and mix of exercises, winter can actually be a fantastic time to mix up your workouts, get creative with your fitness by trying new activities. Unfortunately, during winter we generally see an increase in the incidence of low back and neck pain due to a more sedentary lifestyle.  Below are some tips, which will help you stay active and motivated through the winter months, and hopefully avoid injuries.

TIP #1 – Clothes:

Its sounds simple. But wearing the incorrect clothing can dramatically effect your performance as well as your enjoyment. For those outdoor runs, be sure to bundle up with layers to maintain your core body temperature. If you’re new to training outdoors, consider investing in high-quality workout gear. They are generally really comfortable and will keep you warm. Layers are often the best option, and can easily removed as you warm up slowly. Giving your work out clothes a 5 minute blast in the tumbler dryer will take the edge off those early morning starts. Your dryer will hate you but your body will love you. One of my favourite quotes is “There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.” Having the right equipment makes a world of difference.

Tip #2 – Set Goals:

Regular activity is great, but doing the same activity repetitively may result in decreased motivation and questioning “Why am I doing this?” Setting goals, and achieving these goals are the key to maintaining motivation and staying active. What are your goals? To run 50km per week? Dead lift 70Kgs? Lose Weight? What ever your goal is, write it down and place it in a prominent place to remind yourself why you are working so hard. It may seem tough, but setting goals which force you to focus on a weakness will provide the best long term results.

Tip #3 – Stay Hydrated:

It is very easy to forget to drink water in the colder months as we generally don’t feel as thirsty. Thirst is a terrible indicator and reminder to drink. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Especially in winter, we tend to spend more time indoors with heaters, which can dehydrate your body. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a simple solution to staying hydrated. It also allows you to monitor how much fluid you are consuming.

Tip #4 – Get a Trainer:

Personal trainers are the masters of motivation and winter can be a great time to invest in one. They will help you set goals and keep you accountable to achieving them.

Tip #5 – Focus on the health benefits:

Waking up for a 6am training session when its 3 degrees outside can be tough. Reminding yourself of the health benefits you get from exercise will help ease this early morning struggle. Greater energy levels, reduced stress and better self-esteem are far better rather than falling asleep at your desk and feeling lethargic and overwhelmed.