5 Keys To Staying On The Fitness Track This Fall

A dramatic backdrop of changing colors, cooler temperatures, and lack of bugs make October ideal for outdoor activities. Yet in reality, fall’s brisker and sometimes rainier weather can be less than inviting. As the days get shorter and we inch closer to that first inevitable snowfall it’s common for spirits to wane and the usual walks, runs, and bike rides to give way to the autumnal pull to hunker down indoors. If shifting gears to more indoor exercise sounds depressing, or your enthusiasm to start an exercise plan in the first place wanes as winter approaches, it might help to know that you have plenty of company.

Yet what to do about it? Separate the need to feel motivated in order to take action from simply choosing to take action. Motivation, the driving force that you long for and on some level believe to be an essential impetus, might never arrive on its own. Consider the possibility that garnering enough momentum for fitness through the repetition of manageable workouts is more useful in the long run than actually feeling motivated to do fitness. This fall commit to building workout momentum day in and day out by showing up for exercise regardless of how you feel.

Five keys to help you stay fit through seasonal & other transitions.

  1.  Adopt the “turtle over the hare” approach. Try shorter and less intense exercise periods. They do count, are simply more likely to happen, and will help you get through low energy periods.
  2. Try something new. Find a friend to walk with, join a club, or tryout your neighborhood yoga studio. Discover movement that you enjoy and follow that energy.
  3. Let go of the outcome. Keeping your attention on making consistently more healthy choices instead of on getting results will help you build the habits that lead to life-long fitness.
  4. Support yourself like a friend who believes in you and has your best interest in mind. Research shows that a “kind to self” approach is more effective at sustaining change than a “tough on self” approach.
  5.  Learn to “Start Over” again and again. To roll with the seasons and life in general it’s essential to master the simple, but not easy, practice of starting over again and again, without judging yourself.

You know that consistent exercise is needed to achieve life-long fitness. Yet dwelling on why you’re struggling to follow through with your fitness plan can be counterproductive. Remember that it’s normal to have your motivation and energy wax and wane especially during seasonal transitions. By slowing down and without judgement listening more closely to your body’s messages you can learn to both honor yourself and stay on track. So instead of punishment, try empowerment. Ask yourself what small action is needed now? Then use that doable action to build your momentum. With time this discipline based strategy might lead to the results that you seek.

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