Winter is long and the colder months can make it very tempting to stay snuggled up in a warm bed all day. However, colder weather shouldn’t be an excuse to let your fitness goals hibernate. With the right attitude and mix of exercises, the chilly months can actually be a fantastic time to change up your workouts, reignite your love of fitness and keep the winter blues at bay.
Running Room instructor and marathon coach, Pierre Deschamps, recommends two things that keep him motivated when it’s cold outside. He advises to keep the end goal in mind and trust the program you’re using, if you are apart of one.
Using peer support like running groups can be helpful to develop stronger bonds with other like-minded runners. You can start to depend on each other for support in the winter months.
“It would be way too easy to stay cozy inside on a night where it is -30 C outside,” says Deschamps, “but I know my run mates will be waiting for me, and that gets me out the door.”
There are plenty of activities where you can get a good workout and avoid going to a crowded gym. Skating on the canal, walking in the mall, building a snowman or even volunteering can be effective to stay in shape.
“You can also run inside on the treadmill,” says Deschamps. “The key is to do something. Something is always better than nothing.”
For those who aren’t preparing for a marathon, it’s the same method for reaching your own personal goals. In order to see results, you need to put in the effort.
Tyler Graham, a political science student at Carleton, decided to walk 20 minutes to class for some exercise instead of taking the bus.
“The walk used to take me around 30 minutes,” says Graham, “and now after doing it for a few months I noticed it only takes a little over 20.”
Graham also relies on his 90-pound Great Dane and German Shepherd mix, Achilles, to pressure him into taking longer walks five times a week. This gives him the extra motivation to stay active in his day-to-day life.
There are free classes and events students can go to around Ottawa to help with kick-starting motivation. It’s free to attend the Running Room’s practice runs/walks that they offer three times a week. There are intramurals at all of the schools that are free or that cost very little and public swims happening all the time that cost about $2.50 for a few hours in the pool.
If you can’t muster up the energy to have an official exercise session, bundle up and go outside instead. Playing will burn calories, get your heart rate up and get your muscles moving. Playing tag, having a snowball fight, going tobogganing or even building a snowman won’t feel like a workout.
Almost all of Ottawa’s non-profit and charitable organizations rely solely on volunteers and not only does it make you feel good to help others, but it’s a great way to keep on your feet and stay moving.
Being active isn’t bound by any rule books. It’s not limited to what happens on the track, court, rink or field. The thing that matters is how you’re feeling. It can be the speed-walk you take between classes, snowboarding, running, walking the dog — anything that gets the body moving and the heart pumping.