Christmas and the holiday season brings with it lots of temptations and chances to undo all your hard work in terms of diet and fitness. And with the cold weather and short dark days it can be hard to get motivated to get outside and work out. Here are some simple tips to keep you on your toes and healthy during the winter months.

Don’t be SAD, get motivated

Seasonal affected disorder (SAD) apparently affects an estimated 7 % of the UK population. Otherwise known as the “winter blues”, one of the key symptoms of SAD is lethargy or a lack of motivation. Whether or not you are suffering from SAD, we’ll all admit that it can be harder to get up when it’s cold and dark outside. It can be depressing when you leave for work in the dark and return home in the dark. Daylight becomes something for the weekend. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s Christmas! It’s a time for setting plans for the New Year and a time for finishing off those you set last year. Have you done all you can in 2012? Recognising these motivational difficulties is half the battle. Finish the year off with a bang – go for that run in the rain, it’s refreshing! You can look forward to a lovely bath when you get home again. Some studies suggest that exposure to special lighting that simulates sunlight can treat SAD. Whatever it takes; be the best that you can be for a few more days and you will feel all the better for it.

Give into temptation (but don’t go crazy)

There is a real temptation in the cold winter to eat more. Instead of fighting this urge, embrace it sensibly. Try eating more super foods like berries, brown rice, green tea, wild salmon or walnuts. Studies show that exposing yourself to colder temperatures may boost your metabolism and burn more calories anyway. When it comes to Christmas dinners and staff parties though, don’t overdo it. If you have been good, you may want to treat yourself, but make sure it is done in moderation and that you are aware of any extra calories you are taking on. Perhaps work out extra hard before and after such events, so as to not undo your training efforts entirely.

Forget outdoor sports, come to the gym

Exercising outdoors can be very stimulating and the colder weather means you may burn off more calories with less effort – but it can also be wet, slippery and unforgiving. Personal Trainers and private gyms like ours (Fitness Matters Ltd) are a great alternative for people not used to these environments because we promote a welcoming and unintimidating atmosphere. Training indoors gives you the ability to control the environment and many places including ours do some attractive winter offers and free-prize draws (check out our Twitter or Facebook for competition prizes). January can be very busy at your local gym, with lots of New Year’s resolutions coming into effect, so a private gym may be just what you need.

And on the mention of resolutions, it’s important to summarise by saying that just because the year is ending doesn’t mean you should ease off on your hard fitness work. Deciding to be obsessive with exercise in the New Year isn’t a valid excuse. Get motivated. Be sensible and regular. Keep to your plan and don’t change it just because 2012 is becoming 2013. It’s great to have ambition and goals, but it must be sustainable throughout the whole 12 months. Good luck!

Back to blog feed