Barriers to Exercise: The Weather

(Originally posted on on Feb 14th, 2013)

The weather is cold and dreary. The sun has set by the time we get home and hasn’t risen yet when we’re leaving for work. Who really wants to get out and exercise at a time like this? Wouldn’t it be better to hunker down with a good book and a cup of tea? Well, this is the question that most people ask during this time of year and then again in the rainy parts of spring and summer and once again in the sweltering hot days of summer. The weather outside is one of the biggest barriers to exercise we have and sometimes the easiest excuse we have to not get off the couch. It feels good to think that we really would be outside getting some exercise and fresh air if only it wasn’t so ugly out there.

I’m not saying that you have to go outside in a blizzard or thunderstorm to get your exercise. That’s just crazy. Especially when you are starting out, inclement weather can make exercising absolutely miserable. When you really get going and the pleasure of the workout outweighs the feeling of running in the rain or cold the story changes but that’s not what we are talking about today.

The cold and rainy weather can make it difficult to exercise even if you want to get outside. There are puddles hiding edges in the pavement, ice lurking under a patch of snow, and many other treacherous elements waiting to take your feet out from under you.

So with the miserable weather and the dangerous conditions why not head to where you can run or bike or weight lift inside. A gym! Well, gym memberships can be very expensive and gyms are not always the easiest places to get to, especially when the weather is against you.

“Well, I guess that means we should just give up and become one with the couch, right?” Wrong! We can work out at home! “But Dr. Ben, I don’t have expensive equipment to run or bike on!” That doesn’t matter. You can have a great workout at home without any equipment. In fact, for most equipment-less cardio workouts you don’t even need free weights. “But I don’t have any space!” You’ve probably got more than you think. You don’t need more than 5 square feet of space to get your heart racing and burn calories. Even less is needed from some workouts you can find. So move that coffee table reclaim your routine during the bad weather and the good.

If you need that little extra boost to get yourself motivated still, try an interactive workout program that helps you track your progress such as the Wii Fit or sign up for Fitocracy. You can also make it a family thing and include everyone. It’s a great way to teach the kids good habits for the future.

It is important to remember that every little bit counts. Getting up and making your heart pump is a good thing and doing it once a week is still more than you were doing before. The great thing about building a good habit is that it grows and grows the longer you do it. So if you do it once a week for a couple of weeks you will find it easier to start moving twice a week and then later on three times.

To learn how to do a proper cardio workout without equipment all you need to do it type that into Google and see what pops up. Here are a few of the links that I thought were good when I did that.

And if you are more of a video person rather than reading about exercises you can do the same thing in YouTube.

So you have all you need to get started already. Good luck and happy exercising and as always, thanks for reading.
Dr. Ben


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