How to stay motivated for your winter workouts

Top 10 tips for exercising in winter and boosting your immune system

The cold winter months can make our bodies want to go into hibernation.

But giving up the exercise regime your perfected during the summer months can be the worst thing to do come this time of year.

Top 10 tips for feeling motivated on your winter workoutsWhile the lack of sunlight and cold weather can weaken your resolve to go out for a run or hit the gym, quitting your fitness plans for nights on the sofa can have a serious impact on your immune system.

[Related: How to stay safe and be seen on your Winter cycling workout]

The key to staying motivated is to tailor your winter workout regime to the new season; making sure you set realistic goals for yourself and train at different times of the day.

Phoebe Thomas, Saucony Coaching Ambassador and Running With Us Coach, said keeping your training consistent all year round is the secret to keeping that physique and good health.

Winter workouts: Perfect a core training regime you can do at home“It takes about 10 days to lose fitness, which isn’t that long,” she told Y! Lifestyle UK.

“So if you were to take the winter season off, then you really are going to be back to square one when it comes to Spring/Summer. That in itself should be motivation enough to keep training!”

For many of us, the lack of sunlight – which is a great source of that vital mood-boosting Vitamin D – is what makes exercising in the winter months more of a chore.

But Phoebe insists that changing up when and how you train, will help you through.

[Related: The all weather cycling rules you need to know ]

“You have to become clever with your training in the winter, so start by making the most of early mornings,” she advised.

“If you get it done then you can have a stress-free day and get home and snuggle up on the sofa in the evening. Rather than have it hanging over you all day."

And for all those who aren't fans of exercising at night, then heading out for a jog on your lunch break can be a great way to get your workout done for the day and make good use of those daylight hours.

She continued: “Make the most of that lunch hour. The benefits you can get from a 30 minute or 45 minute run, perhaps putting in some clever pace work can far outweigh the gym for two hours doing a bit of walking on one machine, half-heartedly lifting some dumb bells."

There's even workouts to be had from the comfort of your living room.

"Core workouts, strengthening and conditioning are all exercises that can be done at home," she said. "Working out a 30 minute circuit you can do at home is ideal, but you do need to add in a cardiovascular element too."

Keeping your training consistent will boost your immune systemPhoebe explains that she tells her clients to focus on how completing their training will make them feel: "I always say to focus on how you'll feel afterwards, not during."

Of course we all have to supplement our training with good nutrition for our bodies too. And to keep immune systems strong during the season for flu, it's vital to eat well too.

"When you work out, you actually lower your immune system," she told us. "If you don’t do the correct things afterwards you’re actually going to be more susceptible to colds.

"So if you went for a run in the morning and then instead of eating rushed straight to work and got on the tube with someone who had a cold, then you're likely to pick something up.

"You must refuel after exercising and put any food back into your body. As long as you're doing all those things correctly, then you should stay healthier than the average person."

So to keep you staying fit and healthy during winter, we've compiled a top 10 tips for exercising in winter with the help of a team of fitness experts and nutritionists.

Follow our guide and tell us your workout plans over on Twitter, now.

1. Eat something within 15 minutes of working out to refuel, such as a banana or a sports recovery drink. If you’ve done a hard workout then you need to eat something as that’s when your immune system is on it's hands and knees.

2. Embrace the outside air. Nicky Hambleton-Jones, who is working with coolsculpting, told us: 'Although it’s tough as the weather can be so cruel, fresh air will keep you feeling good and looking good too by boosting your complexion and it will also help you keep up the motivation to get fit instead of hibernating away. A good tip is to warm up your body before you head outside. This will help in the prevention of injury as it will loosen the muscles, as well as warming you up before you brave the outdoor weather. '

3. Make your own home circuit workout. Grab some plain paper and write the name of an exercise and diagram on each piece of paper. Aim for 10 different exercises, such as jumps, sit ups, lunges, squats etc. Then grab a stopwatch, put on some upbeat music and complete the circuit for a great 10 minute workout. Simply repeat twice to get double the burn.

4. Keep your workout clothes by a radiator so your are more inspired to put on toasty warm clothes. Update your iPod with some fast inspiring music that gets your in the mood to move, and then have this for either your home circuits or to listen for a quick walk at lunch.

5. Get motivated by joining a running group on a Saturday, such as Park Run. It’s fantastic as it’s at 9am on a Saturday with a group of people once you've done the course that's your exercise for a Saturday. Running with a group is really important. Find running groups, always hooking up with your friends at 6pm which will also make you feel a lot safer.

6. Change as soon as you've worked out. Once you’ve finished your training, get out of your sweaty clothes and put some warm clothes straight on.

7. Set yourself realistic goals. Plan workouts around your week ahead rather than overloading yourself. You're far more likely to do them than if you set your goals too high.

8. Don't give up. If you slip up in your workout/diet plan, don't throw it all away and binge. Accept you've missed a target, but carry on.

9. Workout with the family. Wrap everyone up warm and head out on a family bike ride. A great way to stay fit and spend some quality time with your loved ones.

10. You don't have to spend money to stay in shape. Why not head to your local park for a workout and get a good Vitamin D and endorphin fix. Things like park benches, hills and steps provide a truly perfect way to exercise for free and make your workouts creative not to mention keeping you feeling and looking great.