How to Boost Your Fitness Motivation

With miserable weather conditions, dropping temperatures and darker afternoons, it is unsurprising that 2/3 Brits exercise less during winter months. As Google searches for “fitness motivation” have seen a 204.3% uplift in January 2022 alone, how can we keep our health and fitness New Year’s resolutions and feel motivated to exercise during the winter months? Looking to boost your fitness motivation? Well, here’s a supplement, check this out! Sometimes, a little extra support can make a big difference in achieving your fitness goals.

Below, Matt Flanagan from E-Bikes Direct, the UK’s largest supplier of electric bikes, presents scientifically proven methods to help boost motivation levels, make workouts more dynamic and engaging and help negate cold and dark seasons.

Exercising in cold and dark mornings/evenings

As it is estimated that 1/3 of people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that occurs when the winter season changes, it is unsurprising that so many of us struggle with exercising in the winter months. There are, however, ways to combat the dark mornings and evenings and help boost our moods, while if you want to create your own gym at home, you could always get Second Hand Gym Equipment online just for this purpose.

The reason SAD is linked to a lack of motivation for exercising is due to the symptoms. “Those who suffer from SAD will experience symptoms such as low energy and feeling sluggish, sleeping too much and a difficulty in concentrating,” Flanagan explains. “As SAD is said to be caused by a lack of vitamin D, which is produced by exposure to natural sunlight, simply spending an extra 20 or so minutes outside should help increase your body’s vitamin D production,” Flanagan advises.

“Even if it seems like a cloudy and somewhat miserable day, the sun’s rays can still penetrate clouds and result in a boost of vitamin D. This is why it is recommended to wear an SPF all year round, as although the sun may not seem particularly bright, it is still present.” Flanagan continues “if you still experience SAD symptoms, then taking vitamin D supplements helps boost your body’s production, which not only helps keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy but can also improve your mood and reduce SAD symptoms.”

Even though the thought of exercising in colder and darker times may not seem ideal, there are some benefits to exercising during these periods. “Our immune systems become weaker during colder weather yet exercising boosts your immune system naturally works harder to defend itself from the colder elements,” Flanagan explains. In addition to strengthening your immune system, being cold is proven to help burn more calories, thus resulting in better results yet without any extra effort.

Flanagan continues “remember, even in the coldest and most dreary of days, exercising is proven to improve your mood. Exercising helps to raise your serotonin levels, aka the happy hormone, which helps to regulate your mood, raises alertness, and even improves your sleep cycle. Not only does exercising increase your mood, but just 150 minutes a week is proven to reduce risk of illnesses such as diabetes and dementia.”

How to boost motivation levels

Work out for shorter periods

One of the biggest fitness trends of 2022 is set to be “mini-workouts” which typically consists of 5-15 minute workouts spread throughout the day for convenience. Typically favoured by those who don’t necessarily have time to exercise for 30 minute-1 hour blocks, mini workouts are also great for those who are getting into a new workout routine, or perhaps returning to exercising after a break. “Studies show that short bursts of exercising help keep your mind active and helps boost endorphin production,” Flanagan explains. “Any movement is still movement, so even if you opt to walk rather than drive to work you that is still enough exercise.”

Try new exercises/routines

Variety in exercise is crucial for achieving both health and fitness goals while maintaining engagement and motivation. A well-rounded fitness plan includes endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises, such as running, weightlifting, yoga, and stretching. For a convenient and effective boost to endurance, rent a spin bike offers a low-impact, high-intensity workout that not only enhances cardiovascular health but also injects excitement into your routine, contributing to overall well-being and injury prevention. “Whether you work out in a gym or favour following workouts online, there are plenty of opportunities to vary your exercise regime,” Flanagan advises.

Set manageable goals

Fitness goals are key to helping to maintain motivation levels, as with a clear goal in place you have something specific to aim for, whether it’s specifically a weight loss goal or even running a marathon. However, it remains an unavoidable fact that no one likes to fail at their goals. While some people say failure is the key to motivating, the reality is failing to reach a goal, especially with regards to exercise and fitness goals, can be disheartening and cause a decline of motivation. “Be kind to yourself and listen to your body,” Flanagan advises. “If you haven’t worked out in years then you simply can’t expect high levels of stamina and strength on your first workout.” Even corrective or plastic surgeons such as Georgios Orfaniotis will often promote a fit and healthy lifestyle to their clients, showing that sometimes, even those who wish to improve or change how they look can get benefit from fitness, and caring for themselves.

Flanagan continues and advises that instead of focusing on one large goal, break that goal up into smaller pieces which instantly makes it more manageable. “While it is important to look at the bigger picture, this can make the goal seem less attainable which sets yourself up for failure. Instead, smaller and more realistic goals help steadily progress to the overall goal.”

Workout with others

Research shows that the healthy actions of others tend to have a positive effect and humans do tend to gravitate towards healthy exercise behaviours of those around us. A study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology shows that working out with a partner produced a motivational gain than those who worked out alone, with another study backing this us and showing that those who exercise with a friend are more likely to double the amount of time spent exercising.

Whether it’s a group spin class or simply a cycle with a friend, working out with peers boosts motivation and can help you exercise for much longer.

Rachel Bartee

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships.