Four Tips to Keep You Fit in Cold, Dark Winter

I recently moved to London from Australia, so it’s safe to say winter’s been a real shock. When I look outside at 4 o’clock and it’s already dark, it can be hard to find the will to stick to my usual exercise routine.

But despite the cold weather and long nights, I’ve managed to keep up with my fitness. I know I’m not the only person struggling for motivation this time of year, so here are four tips to help you stay motivated and safe until the sun comes back.

1: Exercise with others

This one’s easier for me as my partner’s a dedicated triathlete, but find someone else you can exercise with who keeps you motivated and adds a healthy dose of social shame if you ever miss a session. Even if it’s miserable outside, I know I’d be letting her down as well as myself if I didn’t go running with her.

If you don’t have someone you know to team up with, London is packed with groups that are a Google or Facebook search away, from five-aside football teams to park running groups. Not only does having a support network keep you motivated, it’s also a great way to meet people, and if you enjoy the company or competition, then it won’t feel like a chore.

2: Adapt to the cold

Exercising in cold weather isn’t just difficult because of the temperature, it’s also more demanding on the body. While it doesn’t often get cold enough in London (fingers crossed) for this to be too much of a concern, winter will still make things a little more difficult for your circulation.

This means that should you spend a little more time warming up, make sure you’re layered up and don’t push yourself to perform as well as you did when it was warm. If you have health conditions like diabetes, the effects on your circulation can be more significant, so avoid exercising outside in cold weather if you start to feel numbness or pain in your extremities.

If it’s an icy day, it’s not worth the risk of running. You’re better off sticking to a treadmill or indoor track until conditions improve.

3: Make sure you can see and can be seen

For people who work a nine-to-five, exercising outdoors in winter means being in the dark. This makes it harder for people to see you, but also harder for you to see the ground and anything that might trip you up. Stick to well-lit areas and equip yourself with some bright clothes and reflective gear such as arm and ankle bands if you’re running and a bright light if you’re cycling.

4: Find an indoor activity

If you have a gym membership then you’re already sorted here, but if you’re not a fan of the gym that doesn’t mean you’re stuck out in the cold. Indoor sports, group exercise, dance classes; any activity that gets you to break a sweat while keeping you out of the cold is a great way to stay fit in winter.

You can also book an appointment with our functional trainer Ryno who can prescribe you a complete at-home workout with minimal equipment and time, with the benefit of being tailored to your specific strengths and weaknesses. Click here to learn more.

If you have any questions or some tips of your own for a cold Australian, feel free to get in touch with me at

Liam McCloskey