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Winter Workouts
How to Get Motivated

Dress appropriately for winter fun!
Dress appropriately for winter fun!

Winter is a challenging time for many people to work out. The sun isn't up as long, it's cold and snow can really mess with outdoor activities. Living in Key West, I'm fortunate that I don't have to deal with those issues. However, all those things can become problems when I travel.

I regularly visit family that lives in North Pole, Alaska. Whenever I go in the winter, it takes an enormous act of willpower for me just to get out of bed. So I asked a few Alaskans, how do they get motivated when the weather turns frigid? Their suggestions are helpful for anyone spending time somewhere cold.

Warm-up your bedroom. If you have a smart thermostat, set it to start warming up the room about 10-15 minutes before you're supposed to get up. If the temperature in the room is the same as it is under that comforter, there's no excuse to hide in bed. For anyone with a regular thermostat, get out of bed to change the temperature. Once it heats up, you'll be less inclined to stay under the covers.

Some people suggest warming up your clothes by laying them out on a radiator, but that can be risky. You don't want anything plastic melting or clothing catching fire. Try heating things up in a dryer for a few minutes if it's really cold.

Turn on lights when you get up. A lamp that simulates natural daylight is great. An alarm clock that slowly turns on a light as you wake up is pretty cool too. If you're visiting, and those aren't options, turn on all the lights in the room. The light can help stimulate you and signal your brain it's time to start the day.

Turn on music that makes you feel energized. Instead of a blaring alarm, set your favorite song to go off when it's time to get up. Whatever gets your toes tapping and makes you feel excited is appropriate.

Take a shower before you drink caffeine. The water will wake you up quickly. If you're in a rush, just putting your head under the faucet can be stimulating. You can grab some coffee after you've dried off

Recruit a friend to join you. It's a lot harder to blow off a workout when you know someone is waiting for you.

Try out indoor activities. There are basketball, volleyball and tennis leagues that meet and play in high-school gymnasiums. Look for cardio classes near where you live. Bigger cities have indoor pools, trampoline centers, rock climbing walls and obstacle courses. You can watch online workouts without ever leaving your home. The weather is always perfect inside, so you'll have fewer excuses to skip.

Learn some winter sports. Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding are all great cardio activities. Ice skating is a terrific leg workout. Just going out in the yard and building a snowman can take a surprising amount of energy, and it doesn't cost a penny.

Dress for the weather. The clothing that's appropriate for walking from your house to a car, may not work if you'll be spending 30 minutes exercising outside. Find clothing that's appropriate for the temperature and activities you plan.

If unpredictable weather makes clothing choices difficult, remember two simple rules.

First, wear layers. That way you can add or subtract to what you're wearing; and heat up or cool down as needed.

Second, choose clothing that allows you a full range of movement, for whatever your activity is. If you're just going on vacation, see if you can borrow things from friends or the people you're visiting. If you can't get the right clothing, focus on indoor activities.

Look past your restrictions. Just because you haven't done something, doesn't mean you can't do it. Whatever activity you want to pursue can be learned. You can ask a friend, take a class or hire an instructor to teach almost anything. You don't have to be perfect at it, you just want to be good enough to get a workout in.

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beginning any diet or exercise program.