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Five Ways to Bust Through a Late-Winter Workout Slump
We’re in that time of year when the shine of (and often, commitment to) New Year’s resolutions has dulled, but the renewed energy that spring weather brings is still, optimistically, a few weeks away.
It can be tough to remain active as winter grinds on, so we tapped into campus experts for tips to stay motivated, switch it up and re-energize your workout routine until sunny skies and T-shirt weather make a comeback.
Revitalize your playlist.
“A fresh new playlist can be just the right motivation to get moving on those extra chilly days,” says Gail Grozalis, executive director of wellness in the Office of Human Resources. Whether you’re moving and grooving at the Barnes Center at The Arch, a local gym, outdoors or in the comfort of your own home, make a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes that inspire you to get active!
- Find an activity that you love. No, really.
According to Kristen Konkol, assistant professor and I-Move program coordinator in the School of Education, people too often think rigidly about what exercise looks and feels like. “Someone will tell me that they don’t work out because they hate running, and my response is…‘who says you have to run?!’” she says. Instead of forcing yourself into an activity you find miserable in the name of “exercise,” think about ways you can move your body that you actually do enjoy. Do you love to dance? Are you energized by trying new group fitness classes? Do you like spending time outdoors? “Just because something is on-trend or popular, doesn’t mean that it’s right for you,” Konkol says. “It’s about committing to a practice for yourself—not for anyone else. It’s very personal.”
- Don’t wait for spring to get outdoors.
Thinking about skipping that mid-day cruise for Vitamin D that you’d take in the spring or summer? Don’t! Grozalis says you should override that instinct, especially on sunny days. “Getting outside for even 10 or 15 minutes can help boost your mood,” she says. “Keep a hat, gloves and boots or sneakers at your desk and take advantage of nicer days.” Faculty and staff can also take advantage of winter activities, like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, at Drumlins Country Club through recreation services at the Barnes Center. Start slow if you’re new to outdoor workouts, offers Alena Anthony, associate director of fitness programs with recreation services. “Our outdoor programs offer beginner-level options where no experience is needed,” she says. “You’ll get free equipment with hands-on instruction to help you get started.”
- Recruit an “accountabilibuddy.”
Working out with a friend is a solid way to create mutual accountability and encouragement, while also providing an opportunity for social connection. “True wellness exists on a continuum that includes not only your physical but also your social and emotional well-being, your sense of community,” says Konkol. Partnering up to exercise not only increases your commitment to time scheduled for fitness, it also gives you a chance to connect with a friend and talk about what’s going on in your life. “It creates a positive experience directly related to fitness and wellness,” says Anthony. Strengthening this positive association makes it more likely that exercise becomes something you love, not something you dread.
- Take advantage of campus resources.
In addition to the outdoor programs at Drumlins mentioned above, faculty and staff can use many of the amenities at the Barnes Center, including its drop-in fitness classes, climbing wall, eSports room and walking track. “It only takes 20 to 30 minutes to use the track, and it’s something that can be done in most business or business casual attire,” Anthony says. “All you need is appropriate footwear!”
So, now that you’re out of excuses…get out there and enjoy what’s left of winter! Before you know it, we’ll be seeking reprieve in the A/C on a hot summer day.