Tips for staying in a good exercise routine while holiday season

It’s getting dark and cold out there. November brings not only the first snow, but also the deep desire to turn off my alarm and snuggle back under the covers. We are hungrier, and disappointingly less interested in exercise. This usually commences around Halloween, and ends in January. The combination of the hibernation/bulk-up-for-survival instinct, the cold and dark, and the holidays full of treats can create a perfect storm of inactivity.

The problem is not only the weight gain, it is also that psychologically this is a time when we need physical activity the most. We need it to stave off the blues that often come with less light, and to help us deal with the stress and less-than-stellar eating of the holiday season.

So, here are some tips for staying in a good exercise routine this holiday season – for the health of your body and your mind.

Schedule it – do it!

On Sunday, schedule your workout into your calendar for the rest of the week. Schedule it as you would an important appointment. This helps to reduce the chance that you won’t have time to fit it in. Find classes that work for your schedule, and then instill in yourself a “no-cancellation-no-matter-what” policy. Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.

Enlist the help of friends, family, and instructors

Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. You’ll enjoy the support and the camaraderie. Also, let your regular class instructors know that you’d like them to help hold you accountable – if you are signed up for a class and don’t show up, you want to hear about it from them!

Choose activities you enjoy

You’ll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.

If you don’t feel like it, fake it

Get your workout clothes on and go to the gym. Tell yourself you only have to do 5 minutes of exercise once you get there, but you’re going (more often than not, when you get there you’ll do a longer workout).

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight” (Japanese Proverb)

If you miss a day or more, the best thing to do is get back to it rather than staying in a rut of inactivity. Staying active as it gets colder and darker will help your mood and your health. Commit to making it happen as we head into blustery November!

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