You’ve been enjoying long warm-weather walks, and now the season’s changing. Your exercise routine slows way down or comes to a screeching halt. If this has happened to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone, especially when the darker mornings make for a pretty good excuse to reschedule. Still, hibernating can do a number on your body, affecting your weight, mood, sleep and heart health. Plus, pressing the stop button on your activity means you’ll have to start again from square one, and that can be daunting. But what if there was a way to stay motivated from autumn to spring so you could continue to feel great? Let these suggestions challenge and inspire you, and you’ll avoid weight gain and tone up.
1. MAKE OVER YOUR TO-DO LIST
In life, most of us work from two lists: the ‘I will do’ list and the ‘I should do’ list. The ‘I will’ list may include getting up early in the morning, ﬁtting in a trip to the supermarket, folding the washing, ﬁlling the petrol tank. Then there’s the other list: ‘I should’ work out, get in my steps, order a salad, just stick with water. The trouble is, we typically do the things on the ﬁrst list, which won’t really help us live longer, healthier, happier lives – but we forgo most of the stuff on the second list, which actually will. My suggestion: Write down your ‘I will’ and ‘I should’ lists. Then move two items off the ‘I should’ list and onto the ‘I will’ list. Start simply with your new ‘I will do’. For example: “I will take the stairs, not the lift, when I’m going up three or fewer ﬂights;” “I will have salad for at least one meal every day.” Once you get those two habits down, incorporate two more.
2. START A PUSH-UP CHALLENGE
They may seem like an old-school gym class activity, but you get so much from classic push-ups. The exercise works almost every muscle in your body, helping strengthen your chest, arms and core at the same time. So here’s your goal: complete 10 to 15 full push-ups a day by the end of two months. Never fear: you can ease into it. Most women don’t have the upper-body strength to go right to a full-body push-up, so it’s okay to let your knees rest on the ground if you need to.
3. SET A NEW WALKING GOAL
You hear all the time that it’s important to get in 10,000 steps a day, but I’m going to offer a different take. Aim for 8,000 steps a day instead. It’s simple, easy to ﬁt in and light on your joints – 8,000 steps a day is about 6.4km, which is nothing to sneeze at. Start ﬁrst thing in the morning to set yourself up for success, then add a few more walks during the day. I suggest using an activity tracker, as you’ll start looking forward to seeing that number go up.