Tips to keep fitness motivated this winter

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Learn about some tips to keep motivated this winter and stop those pesky blues.

As the seasons change, so do our bodies and habits. It’s no question that staying indoors during a cold and snowy evening is more enticing than a walk in a park, or even finding the strength to scrape the ice off your windshield to go see friends. But, science may tell you why you might not be feeling like yourself during the snowy months.

The University of Alberta has recently published an observation stating that a lack of sunlight causes our cells to store more fat. The study shows that in addition to vitamin D, the sun emits blue light – the blue light was shown to have an effect on the fat cells just beneath the surface of skin, causing them to shrink when exposed.

In winter, our bodies are also not able to absorb the proper amount of vitamin D from the sun. This vitamin is an incredibly beneficial nutrient to our bodies. It not only regulates many bodily functions, keep your bones healthy, and help you fight off sickness. Vitamin D, if deficient can be a factor among others in what is commonly referred to as winter blues.

With that said, you don’t need me or a research team to tell you the sun just isn’t the same in winter. But you may be wondering what you can do to boost your energy during this slump.


Supplementation is a great way to get the nutrients food alone cannot provide. In winter, I highly recommend taking Vitamin D3. Your body absorbs up to 5000 IU per day and tends to help with feeling more energized and even happier. You can find this at any health store and will generally run you about $5. Keep in mind that vitamin D3 is also great for tightening your physique and it contains anabolic characteristics to help you develop and recover muscle, whereas vitamin D2 is the plant-based option and is not efficient in developing muscle tone.

B-12, the brain vitamin, is also critical in removing mental fog and increasing focus. Alongside Vitamin C for immune support, and omega-3 fats for brain function as well as to naturally stimulate the development of muscle and cardiovascular tone.

Magnesium is also a vitamin that many Canadians don’t get enough of, in fact, roughly 43 per cent are magnesium deficient. Anyone who has experienced stress, insomnia, headaches, muscle cramping, daily fatigue or even anxiety know that these are all unpleasant feelings. However, these are also a few large indications that you or someone you know may be deficient in magnesium.

Shut it off before you shut down:

Going back to the beginning, blue light also emanates from our electronic devices. When we receive this invisible light from the sun, it signals in our brain that it’s time to wake up – creating a sleep/wake cycle. When we use our phones or laptops late into the night and early morning, your body is being highly stimulated, interrupting your natural sleep cycle. Not in the identical fashion to the sun itself, the effects can still resemble severe jet-lag or the “this bed is too comfy I can’t get out,” syndrome. Avoiding use of electronics one hour before bed has shown to improve the quality of sleep. Research has also shown a correlation between inadequate sleep and depression or the feeling of sadness. So, try to get plenty of good sleep, and if you ever are feeling down and unsure what to do, please talk with someone – there are always those willing to listen.

Set Goals:

Before you begin any quest to reach a target or specific result, especially with fitness in winter, it is better to prepare yourself in the form of goals. If you have never set goals for yourself before, it’s easy as following the S.M.A.R.T. goal procedure. Make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. The key to the success of following through with yourself is making sure to keep accountable by taking small steps if a large goal seems to far away. Write them down, and put it where you can see them every day. Lastly, when working through your goals, just remember it may not always go smoothly so find the determination to keep on pushing, soon it becomes a habit and won’t feel as much a chore, but another positive aspect of your life.