With the mornings and evenings getting darker and temperatures continuing to fall, the lure of the duvet becomes even stronger and motivating yourself to exercise becomes even more of a struggle. However, with a recent study at Georgetown University showing that even a short break from exercise of between three and eight weeks can decrease fitness levels by up to 20%, taking a winter break from your fitness regime could have disastrous effects on your health and fitness goals.

Warm up indoors

Warming up inside will mean you'll be more relaxed and more likely to perform a thorough warm up, your body will in turn be better prepared for the workout. The cold can be a real shock to our muscles so it's important to get them revved up before you expose yourself to the elements.

Dress to compress

Wear tight fitting thermal clothing underneath your usual training gear, this will allow for better heat retention. If you wear baggy clothing, your movements will replace the heat your body produces with the cold outside air, so strap on the long johns and keep warm this winter.

Lower your intensity

Your body has a narrow range for optimum temperature and will work harder to maintain this range in the colder months; runners are advised to reduce the length of their sessions to compensate for the strenuous task of keeping warm.

Wear lights or hi-visibility clothing

With light hours drastically reduced during the winter months it's crucially important that outdoor exercise enthusiasts stay visible to motorists and pedestrians. Donning hi-visibity clothing or flashing bike lights can help you to stay safe on the streets.

Cool down

The cool down period is crucial in the winter months; your muscles naturally tense up more in the cold weather and you've just exposed your body to some seriously harsh conditions so take a few minutes to get some air before you head inside and start relaxing.

Shower immediately after

Sweat is indented to cool our bodies down as we exercise but as the weather gets colder we could really do without this usually beneficial effect. It's important to wash as soon as possible after a winter work out to avoid sweat drying and cooling on your skin.

Dress warm post-session

After your session you need to give your body every advantage in getting back up to temperature, so after you've washed and you're warm and dry put some layers on to aid the recovery.

Drink warm drinks after exercise

It's important to keep hydrated through the whole workout but ice-cold water can shock the internal organs after a session; no matter how thirst-quenching it might be, a warm drink will be more ultimately beneficial. Try green tea as it also speeds up your metabolism!

It's really difficult to keep that motivation up through the long dark nights but by following these simple guidelines you should be able to keep your regime going and avoid that familiar lapse in progress through the winter.

Boost your winter workout with these top tips

Boost your winter workout with these top tips


by for v5.femalefirst.co.uk