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How to Keep Fit with Winter Exercise

During the cold dreary days of winter, the last thing on your mind is facing the blasting wind of a winter morning and this alone might keep the most dedicated health nut away from the tracks. Personal trainer Timo Topp has the secrets to staying on track.

It’s getting colder and we are losing the light, which doesn’t help the motivation levels for training over winter, right? But if you’re tempted to hit the snooze button in the morning, remember this – staying motivated this winter requires a change to only one thing: your mindset. Sure, the conditions encourage eating more and doing less, but the bedrock of motivation is based on two things. The first is having a goal or target to aim for. The second is clearly understanding the positive effects your actions will have on your life. Connect with these two forces and you will always be inspired.

Instead of sitting at home in front of the television and feasting on junk food, find winter exercises that will keep you busy and help you stick to your daily exercise routine that you usually keep during the warmer seasons.

The nice and somewhat convenient thing is probably the fact that we do not get snow in South Africa (except the few places that gets the occasional ice sleet). So sometimes venturing out in the winter days might not be that much of a hassle. As it can be adventurous to be in the refreshing and invigorating cold.

On rainy or windy days where you can’t go swimming, power-walking, jogging or cycling (which can all be done inside a health club, by the way), rather do other exercises that do not require you to brave the cold.

According to WikiHow, exercising in cold weather, apart from keeping common colds and the flu at bay, can burn more calories because of the need to move faster to keep warm. This then gives you yet another reason to keep up with your exercise during the winter months. Here are types of exercises you can do during winter:

Train for an event

There is nothing like having a short-term goal to work towards to keep you focused and on track with your training. The end of winter brings with it a few classic events. Winter is the perfect time for running training, too, because it’s not too hot.


Nothing will keep your blood pumping like a daily routine of aerobics in an upbeat and fun environment. Women tend to put in much more effort in a group situation because of the pressure of wanting to keep up with other women.


The treadmill might not come with the refreshing air, but it is also the next best thing you can do when the urge to run comes over you, it will give you a good workout just like having a bicycle indoors.


Weights such as dumbells will also help you in your indoor exercise routine and they are also helpful when it comes to toning and firming your body.

Warm Up Wisely

Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes, recommends Olympian Jeff Galloway, coauthor of A Woman’s Guide to Running. When you head out, give your body time to adjust to the conditions by taking 30-second breaks every few minutes for the first 10 minutes.

Set a goal

Not really into running? No problem! Set another goal, such as a few kilos’ weight loss or a five percent reduction in body fat. Stick a photo of that bikini you want to buy on the fridge. When you see that swimwear, knowing each day that passes brings you closer to hitting the beach this summer, you are going to be keen to close that fridge door and grab the skipping rope instead. There’s nothing like a picture to motivate you. It might not be a bikini; it might be a photo of you in terrific shape or a great outfit you want to wear. Whatever image works for you, stick it up where you’ll see it every day.

Focus on the benefits

The gravitational pull of the bed is very strong at 6am, especially when it is cold and dark outside. That’s why you need to remind yourself of the benefits exercise brings you. You want to manage your stress levels, have an abundance of energy and feel good about yourself rather than falling asleep at your desk, feeling overwhelmed and overweight. So get a piece of paper and write down all the ways exercise adds to the quality of your life. Stick it on the fridge, along with your photo, and read it regularly, particularly when you are feeling flat.

Reward yourself

When you reach your goal, reward yourself. Not with a big cake, but with something special like a new outfit for your new body. There’s nothing like working towards a goal, achieving it, then splashing out to say: “Well done me”.

You might think there is a lot that goes into exercise, but it all depends on you and what you are willing to do to keep fit and healthy. Exercise is easy and should be incorporated into your daily routine not only for the healthy lifestyle but because it will benefit you in all aspects of your life

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