As the seasons change, mornings are getting colder and staying darker. When your alarm goes off and it still looks (and feels) like nighttime, it’s tempting to hit that snooze button instead of getting up and exercising. What can you do to stick to your workout regimen that seemed so easy in the summer mornings? Here are some useful tips to keep your early morning workout routine intact.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Start planning to have a good morning the night before. Harvard Medical School shares tips to improve your sleep that help you nix your tendency to toss and turn. Recommendations include keeping a consistent sleep schedule, enhancing your bedroom’s serene environment, and establishing a soothing presleep routine. You’d be surprised at how much easier it is to wake up if you’re intentional about being well-rested.
Keep Yourself Awake
Once that alarm sounds, turn the light on. Better yet, do what I did and install a timer that turns on a light across the room. Wash your face immediately or have a small breakfast smoothie prepped and ready to go. Figure out what motivates you to actually get out of bed and get going in the morning. If you have a lot of trouble, setting multiple alarms and timed lights in different parts of your room isn’t extreme. Definitely invest in an automatic coffee maker so your morning java is at-hand when you walk out the door.
Plan Your Workouts (and Stick with Them)
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. That could be 30 minutes five days a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity once a week. So plan which days you’re going to work out and stick to it. It can be tempting to leave it vague, but that makes it too easy to push off for another day. Instead, plan which days you’ll get up early to exercise and which days you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast instead. Creating a consistent routine allows you to stick to your commitments.
Switch It Up
It’s easy to hop on the elliptical at the gym every morning, especially if you have a favorite TV program scheduled. But boredom in your early morning workout routine is dangerous if you want to stick with your plan. When you get bored you’re more likely to quit or sustain an injury, according to the American Osteopathic Association. So look for a change of scenery, get a good variety of cardio, weights, and stretches into your workouts, and try to compete against yourself or others to stay interested and engaged. Treat yourself by downloading a new upbeat playlist every other week.
Another fun way to kick boredom is to try different types of exercises. Jump in the pool and swim laps, or get on your bike for a few miles to give your muscles and your brain something new to do. Also check out a local gym’s class offerings to see if you can try something exciting.
Know The “Why”
The best winter workout motivation comes straight from you. Good habits are going to be difficult, but that’s what makes them worth the fight. You need to have a solid, compelling reason to get out of bed and get moving on these chilly autumn mornings. Start by reading about the amazing benefits that exercise brings to your life. Keep a journal of how you feel physically and emotionally an hour after each session to convince yourself to brave the early morning workout.
Consistent exercise lets you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles and bones, and improve everything from your mood to your brainpower! Your future health is a pretty good motivator to get moving in the morning.
Waking up and getting going can be killer—especially when the weather isn’t conducive to feeling very bright and cheery. But after you finish your workout, you’ll feel instantly better. With a little thought and some creative motivation, you can keep up with your early morning workout and reap the benefits of exercise all year long.
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for winter workout motivation? We’re all ears! Tweet your tips to @TomsofMaine!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.