If you live in the northern hemisphere - and some way north of the equator like us - it's most likely cold where you are. As I write this it's minus 3c outside, and not that much warmer in my gym! Combine the cold weather with the festive season, and you've got the perfect excuse NOT to get on your rower, exercise bike or go for a run. Yet, it's important to stay fit and healthy during the winter to help keep those bugs at bay.
So how do you motivate yourself to train at this time of year? Well, firstly don't think you can put if off until the New Year to restart - you'll have those few extra pounds to shed that you've put on in the run up to Christmas!
Of course it's the 'season to be jolly', so it won't hurt to treat yourself and celebrate the days will start to get longer and brighter in the not too distant future - but if you've had a good session, perhaps you can treat yourself just a little more :0)
So, training in cold weather. If you're outside running or cycling, it's very important to warm up indoors, but then spend a few minutes outdoors continuing your warm-up so you can acclimatize. Also, make sure you're wrapped up warm so you don't cool down during your training session. Modern apparel is great for keeping the warmth close to your body, whilst taking the sweat away. I also wear a hat, gloves and apply lip balm - I also add some to the edges of my nose :0) If it's dark, make sure you can be seen by wearing reflective clothes, or a band over your kit. Once back inside, warm down - including some resistance work on your rower, and finish off with a warm bath or shower. I add extra vitamin C to my diet to help with recovery in the cold weather.
If you prefer to training indoors during the winter, you still need to take the temperature into consideration and the fact your immune system may be working overtime with the winter bugs, loss of sunlight and maybe a less than healthy diet at this time. So take care to warm up for a little longer before going for broke on your rower. Also spend more time warming down and don't sit around in your kit for too long afterwards.
So keep training, stay fit and healthy for winter, and before long, spring will be on its way.
If you live in the southern hemisphere - you can come back in 6 months to read this :0)
Roy Palmer is an athletics coach, teacher of The Alexander Technique and a rowing fanatic.