<![CDATA[Fall has arrived. The leaves are turning, and the temperature is definitely dropping. As someone who is a decidedly fair-weather runner, I am always sad to see summer come to an end. The worst of it for those of us who are trying to maintain their fitness and healthy weight-and let's face it who isn't- is that I know of no other time that, with each passing day, I have a stronger built-in excuse for not exercising as I know I should. As the Mercury falls, the excuse that it is just too cold to get up early and run, or exercise after work, becomes just a little bit more persuasive. So how do we fight back against that cold-weather inertia, and that well-founded desire to just snuggle up under a warm blanket by the fire? Here are a few strategies that have worked for me and many others who have an aversion to outdoor cold-weather exercise. 1. Schedule a winter race or other events involving exercise. That’s right, choose a date that is smack dab in the middle of winter, like say, late February. It cuts against the grain, but once you’ve done it, there it is on your calendar with a big red circle around it. Last year for me this was the Redding marathon. Then, looking at your calendar every day or every evening, you see that race or that other event you’ve selected, and you know that you must get to work training for it. 2. Buy a secondhand piece of exercise equipment for your basement. There is nothing that says “I have no excuses” like a ready and waiting treadmill in your own house. In fact studies show that anything at all that we can do to lower the barriers and obstacles for exercising (or any other task for that matter), the more likely we are to complete the exercise plan. So you can keep that in mind in other ways as well. But definitely start by making sure you have a working treadmill or elliptical or spin bike somewhere in your house for the winter months. 3. Buddy up. We need partners, groups, other people with similar motivations to remain healthy and maintain fitness to keep us going. If you have a regular walking partner who’s expecting to meet you every morning, and then have coffee afterwards, you are much less likely to miss the walk or let your partner down. Keep in mind a partner can be a spouse or friend, but it can also be a canine partner. 4. Start small. If I had a nickel for all of the under utilized gym memberships, I could afford college for all my children. So don’t make too big of a move here, spend a lot of money or created drastic change in your daily routines. Start small. Commit, for example, to a 30 minute walk where you bundle up properly and test out the temperatures. 5. Stick with the other proven routines. Continue to stand on the scale every day and monitor your weight. Pay close attention to carbohydrates and keep avoiding them. Stay focused on your mission to maintain and healthy weight. Fall does mean a prelude to winter months, snow and cold temperatures for many of us, but it does not mean the end of our commitment to fitness and healthy weight. Kent Sasse, M.D., MPH, FACS, FACRS Minimally Invasive Solutions]]>
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