Search This Blog

Monday, October 3, 2011

Active in Michigan

Well, it started to get a bit chilly last week, and while today is warmer, it is indeed time to start thinking about how to stay active as autumn and eventually winter tighten their icy claws around our fair state for the next half year.

Michiganders are at high risk for hibernation-related fitness deficiencies. Meaning when it gets cold we tend to huddle in our houses eating and drinking warm, comforting, high-carb high-fat foods until the weather becomes bearable again. We lose strength and endurance, get depressed, put on excess weight and put ourselves at risk for diabetes, coronary artery disease and a variety of cancers. Not a fun or healthy way to spend half our year.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. With some planning and determination, we can all maintain healthy levels of activity during the cold months, which in turn will keep our energy and spirits high, making it easier not to also spiral into a 5-month holiday food coma. Start planning now to make the transition easier.

Here are some ideas:

* If your primary exercise is walking, you can always take it indoors, to your own treadmill, the mall, the high school indoor track, or the gym. Because it's often less appealing to walk indoors, make it a plan, put it in your calendar and don't skip it. Find ways to make it more appealing: download good music, audio books or podcasts you look forward to listening to onto an mp3 player and use it while you walk. If on a treadmill, grab an interesting magazine or allow yourself to watch a favorite tv show while you walk. Enlist a walking partner so you can chat the time away. Find a way to enjoy your time and you will want to keep doing it.

* Sign up for a class and pay for it in advance. Make it something you've enjoyed in the past or always wanted to try. If possible, get a friend, spouse or coworker to sign up too so both of you will be more likely to attend. When you're done, avoid commiserating about being sore or exhausted. Focus instead on how strong or refreshed or energized you feel.

* If you work out in the morning and it's harder to get out of bed to do it when it's cold and dark, consider investing in an alarm clock that simulates sunrise with a light that gradually gets brighter until it's time to wake up. (Search for "sunrise clock" for many different models.) Your body's response to the light will help you get up easier. Or try setting your alarm to wake you up with a high-energy song you love. Try sleeping in your workout clothes so you can get right to it instead of dreading the icy draft when you get out of bed. Remember that the workout should warm and energize your body!

* Consider trying something new or getting back into something you've not done in awhile, whether an outdoor winter sport like skiing or an indoor active pursuit like a martial art, dance or indoor soccer. Check your rec & ed department and other organizations. There are lots of fun things to do to help you stay active all winter long.

* Enlist the help of a personal trainer, whether one-on-one or with one or more friends. When you have an appointment and someone to hold you accountable, you are less likely to skip out on workouts.

* Get support from friends, relatives, your spouse or children or coworkers. Make a pact to stay active this winter and regularly check in with each other. The more personal you can make it, the better, but there are also online communities that can help you connect with others who are trying to stay on track, such as Try to stay positive with each other - not inducing guilt trips but instead helping problem-solve and gently pushing each other to stay on track.

Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Commitment is very important, if we are committed to have a healthy & Fit body, we will not skip the exercise or fitness programs.