Capital Chemist - Tips for staying motivated this winter
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Tips for staying motivated this winter

When the temperature drops, it can be very tempting to spend your time rugged up on the couch, watching TV and indulging in comfort food. While it might feel more challenging to get up, get moving and eat a balanced diet, it’s just as important to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout winter as it is in the warmer months.

Here’s how to stay motivated to be healthy and active:

Set a step goal

One of the tricky things about being sedentary is that it often happens before we even realise what’s going on. This is because many of us don’t actually keep track of our activity levels throughout the day, so it’s never at the top of our minds. Using a wearable step tracker, whether it’s a Fitbit or pedometer, is an excellent way to track the number of steps you take in a day. While step count isn’t the only metric for measuring how active you are, it is an effective way to keep track of general movement. A goal of 10,000 steps is generally considered sufficient to stay active, however, if you’re quite sedentary you might find it helpful to set a goal a little bit lower and work your way up to 10,000 over time.

Exercise in the morning

While it might seem counterintuitive to exercise in the mornings when the temperature tends to be a bit lower, this can be one of the best times to squeeze in a walk, stretching session or workout. This is because by the time it gets to the afternoon, we might be feeling tired from the workday or stressed and just want to stay home and relax. By using the morning to exercise, you’re making sure that you’re squeezing in a bit of exercise before your day gets too busy or overwhelming. Plus, a nice warm shower afterwards is a great way to reward yourself for your efforts, warm yourself back up and prepare for the day ahead.

Get some support

Getting together with friends is a great way to make exercise more fun, but it can also help you to stay accountable with your fitness, healthy eating, stress levels and sleep. This is particularly effective if you can recruit someone in your household, whether that’s your partner, housemate or sibling, but having anyone in your daily life that can support you will be helpful. You can even ask someone to be your “accountability buddy” and check in with them every day to see whether you’re both on track with your goals. Alternatively, you can always recruit the help of a health professional, for example, a dietician or personal trainer who can provide guidance and accountability.

Plan your week

Making healthy choices is difficult when our energy levels and willpower are low, for example on your lunch break on a busy workday or at the end of a particularly tiresome day. One of the best ways to stay on track during these times is to plan in advance. This can include scheduling in some workouts during your week, making a meal plan and preparing food in advance. If you’ve taken the time to plan and prepare, you’re more likely to feel motivated and stick to the plan. Even small actions, like laying out your workout clothes at night in preparation for your morning walk can go a long way to making staying healthy less effortful.

Stock up on supplies

Often the winter months call for some special purchases. There’s no need to spend a fortune, but having a few things on hand to make sure that you’re warm and comfortable can make a big difference to your motivation. Warm clothes to exercise in are a good start - some long sleeve tops, thick socks and a nice warm jacket are a good start. Basic skincare items such as lip balm, moisturizer and lubricating eyedrops can combat the dry skin and eyes that often come with exposure to the cold. If you’re exercising in the gym, make sure to carry and use hand sanitizer, as germs are easily contracted through sweat and winter tends to be peak cold and flu season.

Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D

While we get most of our essential vitamins and minerals through our diet, we actually get most of our Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. If you’re spending lots of time indoors, you may be at risk of developing a deficiency or failing to reach optimum levels of this essential nutrient. To get enough Vitamin D, try to get out and spend 15 minutes or so in the sunshine every day, or speak to your Capital Chemist about whether a supplement may be right for you.

You may also be interested in the following:

Common sense for the common cold. Tips to stay healthy during winter
6 tips to beat the winter blues

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