It can be challenging to keep moving when the weather is cold and rainy. Let’s just say it is not very inviting. Add to that the craziness that accompanies this time of year: the invites, the gifts to buy, holiday after holiday after holiday — and physical activity becomes a thing pushed to the side.
Yet, movement might be the thing needed most to get through this time of year. Physical activity can lower blood pressure, reduce chronic inflammation, help with anxiety, improve sleep, and manage diabetes, among other things. It can also serve as a time to get together with others or be alone (hello quiet time) –whichever recharges you. Physical activity can help you feel strong (both mentally and physically) and serve as a gateway to better health.
Seeing many benefits to moving only makes it that much more needed. So how to keep moving in the rain (or cold, windy days)? That’s the challenge.
Here are three tips to keep moving, even when the weather makes it challenging to do so:
Pencil it in. Look at the upcoming weather and figure out when the weather will be at its best. If you have some flexibility with your day, schedule it like you would any other important appointment. Honor your activity appointments in the same fashion you would a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. If it will be raining in the evening, wake up a little earlier than needed to walk or run. If it will clear up in the afternoon, take your lunch break during that time for a quick stroll. It may mean you do not work out at the time you normally do, but at least you’ll get a workout in. Ten minutes is better than zero, so don’t feel like you need to crush every single workout.
Let Electronics be Your Friend. Opt to stay indoors and find a fun dance class or walking video on YouTube. Lots of apps have videos as well, ranging in length and types of activities. Find one that suites your style and activity level and enjoy moving around in the comfort of your own home. Most public libraries have fitness DVD’s to lend as well. Stop by and pick up a few to try – for free! Not comfortable with technology? No worries. Pace around the living room, use books or canned goods as weights, do pushups against the wall… the possibilities are there if you think creatively. As a bonus, working out from home = zero time spent commuting (and no need to purchase special equipment).
Accept the Reality. Your routine may have to change. You may enjoy a Saturday morning hike, but that may have to switch to a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood if the trail is wet and muddy. That morning bike commute may have to turn into living room Zumba session. It could mean less activity on certain days and modifications here and there, but it does not mean you have to quit your routine. Weather is ever changing, and a sunny Monday can easily become a cold, windy Tuesday. Take advantage of the days when you can be outdoors and modify on the days you cannot. Remember that there is no perfect way to workout and if you are incorporating physical activity into your life, there will be days when it will be challenging to fit it in.
Bottom line: don’t let the weather get in the way of your physical activity minutes. Figure out creative ways to keep moving. There is always a way to do it – sometimes it just involves a little imagination and some flexibility.