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I hate exercising indoors. What do I do this winter?

The question: I'm an avid runner/cyclist – anything outdoors. How do I stay motivated to train when I have to move indoors because of the cold?

The answer: I empathize with you. I also love to run and bike outdoors. I have a couple of tricks that I use to motivate myself to train during the winter. You are welcome to steal them!

First, I remind myself of how great I feel after a workout. I know that any workout, even an indoor workout, will make me feel better than no workout. The worse I feel, the more I know I need to train.

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Next, I reframe the situation. I remind myself that everyone can benefit from a mental and physical break from their regular routine. I challenge myself to do activities that I am not as familiar with, or activities that I find hard to prioritize during the year, like yoga.

I also set a winter training goal. Anything that will motivate you to stay active makes a good goal. Aim to be able to complete a certain amount of push-ups or pull-ups by the end of the season. Or aim to do a certain number of yoga classes per month. Or try one new form of exercise each week.

My current goal is to be diligent about strengthening my legs in preparation for racing the Mont Tremblant half-Ironman, which is a hilly race.

I can't stay away from cycling and running completely, so I do indoor versions of each. I run on a treadmill, take spin classes or use a bike trainer. The trainer is fantastic, because it allows you to put your actual road bike on a stand and cycle. I also capitalize on nice weather and run outside when possible. So far the weather has been mild in Toronto, and I have been able to run outside on most days, which makes me extremely happy.

Trainer's Tip: Try enlisting an exercise buddy. The two of you can motivate each other. Recently, I have been going to ballet bar classes with my girlfriends. These classes are completely out of my comfort zone, but it's fun to exercise as a group and try something new.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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