September 24, 2023



7 things every digital nomad should know when starting out

5 min read

Cold days! Long dark evenings! All too frequent downpours! It’s no exaggeration to say that staying active and exercising regularly during the winter months is a lot harder for most people.

I think that we can all agree that there’s a massive difference between lacing up your runners for a nice evening jog in some balmy summer weather compared to a cold winter night.

But just because it’s winter, that doesn’t mean that you need to let all your fitness goals fall by the wayside and let all of your exercise gear gather dust in your wardrobe for the next few months. Here are some simple actionable tips that can make it much easier to stay active during the winter months.

Choose the right exercise gear

My top three recommendations for winter exercise apparel would have to be a good jacket, a good pair of runners and a base layer made of synthetic fabrics.

In terms of a good jacket, think waterproof and think lightweight. A waterproof jacket will keep you dry and help you avoid picking up a cold. A lightweight jacket is naturally important for exercise so as to not inhibit your movement.

In terms of runners, think waterproof and think good grip. There’s nothing worse and more unmotivating than wet feet! And let’s not forget the icy conditions and how important it is to have footwear that provides you with good grip to reduce slipping and sliding.

In terms of the base layer, this is a great way to insulate your body and stay warm during the winter months. It can make exercising in the cold weather a lot more palatable.

Here are some final bonus tips. Firstly, to wear something bright so that you are easier to spot in the darker conditions. And secondly, keep your extremities warm like your hands and head by wearing a hat. This is because during cold weather, the human body circulates blood less to the extremities to be better able to keep your core and trunk areas warm. You can always remove layers if you become too warm.

Set realistic goals for yourself

As previously stated, most people find it easier to be active during the summer months where long sunny days are plentiful, and I’m no exception!

It’s important to stop and have an honest conversation with yourself about what’s realistic during the winter months. Will you be able to exercise as often as you did during the summer? For a lot of people, the answer will be “no” and that’s okay!

As a Personal Trainer who has been involved in the fitness industry for almost 10 years, I can tell you that consistency is the number one driver of results. If you cannot maintain your summer routine, you’re much better off cutting down how often you exercise and at least being consistent with it. This will yield much better results than being stubborn and burning out because you’re ignoring what’s feasible for you.

On the other hand, you should also avoid the “all-or-nothing” mindset that stops so many people from reaching their fitness goals. Just because you can’t work out like you did during the summer months, that’s no reason to throw in the towel and to completely abandon exercise. Instead, you should adopt “all-or-something” thinking. Your health and fitness goals should not take a vacation just because it’s winter. Tell yourself that while you might not be able to exercise as much as you did during the summer, something is always better than nothing.

Set a realistic plan for the winter months and stick to it. That’s how you’ll build the habits that you need to stay consistent during the winter.

Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise

Never stop reminding yourself of all the amazing benefits that even a small bit of regular exercise gives you both physically and mentally. Exercise isn’t just about looking better and the superficial benefits. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones in your brain. It also improves bone density, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart health. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of serious disease like type 2 diabetes, strokes and cardiovascular diseases.

Transition to more indoor exercise

Exercising indoors is obviously much more weather-proof! That’s what makes it such a good option when the inclement winter weather strikes!

I won’t lie to you; I don’t enjoy walking on a treadmill as much as walking on a sunny beach, but it’s better than nothing and beggars can’t be choosers!

A great thing about transitioning to more indoor exercise during the winter is that you can really broaden your horizons and use it as a chance to experiment with other forms of exercise that you might otherwise never have tried. And you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find! Speaking from personal experience, this was one of the reasons why I managed to stumble across lifting weights almost 10 years ago…and the rest is history!

Another example, especially if you’re someone who struggles with staying motivated during the winter months, could be joining an online fitness class and work out with others from the comfort of your own home. This is a great way to add external accountability to your fitness goals.

Consider changing the time that you exercise at

With remote-working and more flexible working arrangements implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of people now benefit from more flexible working arrangements. If you fall into this category and you like to exercise outdoors, why not consider re-structuring your day a little bit? For example, could you move your evening summer run to lunchtime during the winter months?

Warm-up properly

One of the most common causes of exercise-related injuries is failing to warm up properly. Warming up helps to lubricate your joints. That’s why a cold muscle is much more likely to get injured. You should always warm up, but it’s even more imperative during the cold winter weather.

Your warmup should involve dynamic movements that mimic the muscle movement patterns that you are about to perform at a lower intensity. For example, before a run you could lightly jog on the spot and do some heel kicks and lunges.

Stay safe

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well-intentioned your plans are, circumstances outside of your power can intervene. Extreme weather conditions are no exception to this.

Extreme winds increase the chances of trees and other structures falling, as well as the chances of you losing your balance and falling. Extreme rain, frost and icy conditions also greatly increase your chances of falling and suffering an accident.

At the end of the day, being sensible and staying safe will always be more important than any outdoor exercise you might have planned. Extreme weather is never worth the risk.

Humans generally don’t like change and having to alter your exercise habits during the winter months is no exception to this. Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts can find exercising during winter hard going, so it’s important to not be too hard on yourself and to have a realistic plan in place for yourself.

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