Staying motivated to keep up a healthy lifestyle can become challenging in the winter months. When it’s cold and dreary out, the best idea seems to be curled up in bed with a hot chocolate, but staying active and eating healthy are important and shouldn’t be neglected. We asked around campus to find students who excel in their health and fitness to round up the best tips for you to help combat the winter slump.
The first step is finding the motivation. Bikini bodybuilder and Kent State senior Elina Coss says she surrounds herself with friends who have similar health goals. One of her biggest motivations is the support system she has in like-minded friends who encourage her.
Even so, there are days when she just doesn’t feel like working out. On those days, she looks to Instagram for motivation. She recommends following health and fitness bloggers.
“When I open (Instagram), I’m always seeing their progress or new work ideas from them,” Coss says.
Another way to find motivation is by looking at exercise as a form of relaxation. Yoga instructor and Kent State senior Julie Riedel says that with the busy schedule college brings, getting active is her chance to relax.
“Working out is what brings happiness to my days working out or taking a fitness class lets my body move while my brain relaxes,” Riedel says.
Getting into a regular routine can be also be helpful. This applies to both eating and exercising. Eddie Klicman, a second-year nutrition master’s student at Kent State, says small choices made about food add up to a healthier diet. He recommends getting into the habit of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
As for exercising, Coss says she goes to the gym six times a week, and Riedel says she tries to stay active everyday, whether she’s running, teaching yoga or going to one of the many Group X classes offered at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
If you’re struggling to get yourself moving, Riedel recommends the Group X classes, which she says are the highlight of her weeks. The schedules are the same every week, so once you find classes that work for you, it is easy to keep up with them and make a routine for yourself.
Once exercise becomes a regular habit, it’s much easier to continue. Prioritizing can go a long way in building healthy habits. Riedel says having priorities helps her to achieve the things that matter to her, like working out.
Sometimes making it to the gym just isn’t possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be active. Coss says that although she prefers to put in two hours at the gym, sometimes that’s not an option, so she finds ways to get her workout in at home.
She recommends pushups, planks, bodyweight squats, yoga or even finding a staircase to run up and down.
“For planks, I put my books on my back to put some weight on,” Coss says.
Coss also likes to find yoga videos on YouTube. Although it’s not quite the same as being in an actual class, she says it’s better than nothing.
Winter can lead us to crave warm, comforting foods, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be unhealthy.
Coss says her go-to feel-good healthy foods are sweet potatoes or oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon because they are filling, nutritious and tasty. She also recommends learning to use spices to make a hearty and delicious meal out of rice, vegetables and chicken
Klicman recommends soups and stews as a simple, healthy and warm option. He also says it’s important to listen to your body.
“My appetite does change in the winter months which I think is inherent. I actually crave more fatty fish in the winter,” he says.
He points out that these are healthy fats, which our bodies may need a little extra off in the winter.