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Exercise Physiologist Kirra Rankin knows first-hand how difficult exercising in winter can be. So she’s got a plan for a winter walking adventure.
Winter is here. How’s your movement program looking as we step into the cold season?
Do you enjoy the changing seasons? I love my changing wardrobes—gloves, beanies, ear warmers, synthetic and wool socks.
However, do you need a winter walking adventure to motivate you to get out of bed in the mornings? I do.
If you’re going to get active in winter, you need a solid plan—you need something to look forward to at the end of winter. An end goal.
You need smart, warm, climate-appropriate gear and a schedule. Here are four tips to get you motivated to move during the cooler months.
Creating a winter exercise program
Think about what you want out of the program. Which fitness component are you targeting: power, strength, agility, balance, endurance or speed? Or, if none of those motivates, do you want to improve your sleep quality?
Maybe you have a “busy-monkey-mind” and you find a walking/running/aerobic exercise program calms your nervous system and allows you to think better.
Or maybe you’re getting ready for an event or big winter walking adventure that will motivate you to get moving?
Once you have found what you want out of your program, go see a professional (Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist with an exercise programming background) to help design your next week, next month, next three months.
It’s good to have a short-term goal (one week), a medium-term goal (three months), and a long term goal (one year).
Having a short-term plan allows you to focus on the present, and not get too caught up in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mindset. Sound familiar?
Monitor your happiness
Monitoring your functional progress (which equals happiness) is essential to keep you on track—and it doesn’t have to be a regular beep test.
You could try recording your heart rate before and after exercise, having a regular block that you run or walk around and time yourself or seeing how many squats and push-ups you can do in 20 seconds and time yourself every week to see if you’re improving.
Why not try ParkRun (it’s a free community 5 km event), get a Fitbit or check the built-in health app on your iPhone and measure how many steps you do a day?
The purpose of monitoring an exercise program is to systematically stress the body so it improves its tolerance to the specific movement.
You want your monitoring to be sustainable, easy, accurate, regular, and most importantly write it down (so you can see your improvement) and so you achieve your end goal.
Adapt your program
A successful exercise program is an adaptive process and will consider progressive overload, specificity and reversibility. You need to know where you are struggling and what is working for you.
The beauty of measuring your progress (or even non-progress), is it allows you to adapt the program according to how you are feeling. This is where a professional can help you.
Book your adventure
Now, what are you waiting for? You have three months to get ready for your end of winter goal.
I’ve booked a hiking adventure—what will motivate you to get through winter?
What steps do you need to take tomorrow?
Photography: Sarah Demery