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Home / Making Waves: Fall Issue 2018 / It’s cold, it’s dark. How to motivate yourself to exercise this Fall

It’s cold, it’s dark. How to motivate yourself to exercise this Fall

The leaves may be falling but there’s no reason your heart rate should be!

Rachel Xiao

It’s November, which means it’s sweater season – curl up with a blanket and some hot tea season – binge watch spooky movies while the sun sets at 6 pm season. With the increasingly chilly weather and shorter days, it’s also harder to work up the motivation to leave the warmth of your house and make the trek to the gym or go for a freezing cold run. No judgment here: I’m struggling with the same problem, so I’ve come up with these 6 ways to stay active and get your fitness in this fall!

Make it part of your daily routine

It’s so much easier to get your exercise in if you’ve carved out a specific time for it. Whether it’s twenty minutes or an hour, try setting aside a regular time within your daily routine. It also helps to schedule your workout in conjunction with another activity – like going on a pre-breakfast run or hitting the gym right after work – to maximize your flow of energy throughout the day. And once you’ve gotten into the habit of working out every day, it becomes a natural part of your routine!

Find an exercise buddy

We’ve all had that moment when we meant to go to the gym and then at the last minute decided… nope, not today. You know what makes it harder to flake? Making an exercise appointment with a friend! You just need to make sure that you’re both willing to get tough and hold each other accountable for showing up. Sometimes you just need that “see you in 10…or else!” text to get you on your feet.

Join a fitness class

Another way to hold yourself accountable is to join a fitness class. Whether the motivation lies in getting your prepaid money’s worth, meeting up with your new classmates and friends, or making your instructor proud – you’re staying active and that’s the goal! From yoga and Pilates to spinning and Crossfit, there is an incredibly wide range of fitness classes that you can experiment with. Do some research to figure out what type of class seems like the best fit for you or go the Classpass route if you know you want to try a variety of exercises.

Workout from home

If it’s the physical act of leaving the house that’s holding you back – don’t leave! While you won’t have access to the full range of weights and machines you would have at a gym, there are plenty of ways to work out from the comfort of your home. Grab a yoga mat and some body weights and you can get in a pretty successful workout routine from your living room. Many fitness instructors even post video routines specifically so that you can follow along from home. Happy Youtubing!

Take up a (seasonal) hobby

Sometimes exercise alone just isn’t a big enough motivator – personally, I hate running on a treadmill because I find it repetitive and boring. Instead, try to incorporate your exercise into a hobby or activity that makes it more fun! For example, you could go hiking, rock-climbing, ice skating, or skiing on weekends. You could also branch out and try your hand at martial arts, sign up for kickboxing, or check out a dance class. Remember, exercise doesn’t always have to take place in a conventional gym.

And if none of these work, let me share with you my secret motivation: do it for the food. As soon as fall hits, I know that I am already thinking ahead to Halloween candy, and then fast-forwarding to Thanksgiving dinner, and then it’s just a slippery slope to Christmas cookies. It’s a magical time of the year. While I don’t believe in depriving myself of tasty treats regardless of how many calories I’ve burned that day, working up a sweat not only makes me feel happier, healthier, and less guilty as I stuff myself, it also helps me work up a strong appetite. Another slice of pumpkin pie, please!


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