What motivates you to get up off the couch, out of bed, and out the door to exercise?
A confession: when it’s dark and cold outside, my motivation levels dip. If it’s light when I wake up in the morning, it’s much easier to roll out of bed and head out for a run. On the other hand, when the only light is coming from the moon, it takes extra effort to get moving.
The same thing happens at the end of the day. In the summer when it’s light after work, I love to go for a bike ride after dinner. Now it’s dark when I leave work, and by the time I get home I have to use my high-beams to see the road.
Here’s the choice: we can hibernate for the winter and watch our fitness levels decrease while our clothes fit tighter and tighter, or we can focus on why activity is important to us. When was the last time you actually sat down and made a list of all of the benefits you get from activity? Post that list where you can refer to it often: on your computer, on the fridge, on the mirror in the bathroom.
The second step to increasing the probability of sticking with your exercise routine is to make it easy. That might mean putting together your workout bag in the evening, and even sticking it in your car at night so you have everything ready when you’re driving home from work. Set up an exercise date with a friend, so you have someone else depending on you to show up and exercise. Pack your walking shoes in your briefcase, or better yet leave a pair at work, along with socks, so you can get in a fast 15-20 minute walk at lunchtime.
Please share your favorite tips for continuing activity through the dark winter months. Even if you live somewhere warm and sunny, we want to hear from you!