ME2 Challenge: Exercise and Seasonal Change

September 07, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mind Body Spirit

The leaves are changing color and the days are shorter and shorter each day. It is my intention to not let the strong, fiery energy of summer fade and along with it my commitment to daily exercise. When it’s warm and sunny I can’t keep myself indoors. I simply must get out on my bike or to a trail in the forest. Come winter I’m content to do some yoga at home each day, though I really feel much better overall when I get aerobic exercise several times a week.

Swimming Pool

Living in the Pacific Northwest it’s rainy most of the year which not only hinders outdoor exercise but leaves most people feeling lethargic and content to be inactive. That’s why I have a gym membership and an inclement-weather strategy to get myself moving: swimming! No matter how dreary outside, I imagine what it will feel like to slip into the pool and I’m motivated to go. For me swimming is such fun that the workout is almost a side-effect.

As the seasons change take some time to think about your commitment to daily exercise and any season-specific obstacles that you think may arise. For instance:

  • Shorter, darker days mean less daylight for outdoor jogging, walking and cycling. For safety and companionship buddy up with a friend, neighbor or spouse when exercising outside in the dark. Use well-lit and well-traveled routes and consider wearing reflective or light colored clothing.
  • Rain, rain and more rain: The bright lights and machinery of the gym just can’t compete with fresh air and beautiful outdoor scenery but for those of us in temperate climates, especially in the Pacific Northwest, we simply must be flexible when it comes to exercise during winter months. If a gym just isn’t your thing try dance lessons, yoga, martial arts or home exercise equipment.
  • Low energy: Many people experience low energy and mood, even mild depression when the longer, sunny days get shorter and darker. Get some exposure to the sun when you can; Vitamin D supplements may also help. Give yourself permission to do a gentler workout (walk vs. run, yoga vs. kickboxing) if you’re really dragging. Working out with a partner or group can also be very uplifting.

Having an inclement-weather exercise plan or a favorite rainy-day exercise you simply can’t resist (swimming, Bikram yoga, ballroom dancing) is a great way to keep your commitment to daily exercise. Before long you will find that rain or shine, your commitment to exercise has become a lifestyle.

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