Sydni Ellis grew up in the great state of Texas, where she learned to love chips and salsa and hot weather. She has a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas, and she currently works in the College Communications, Marketing and Outreach office at Richland College. Some of her passions include writing, traveling and re-reading the Harry Potter Series every chance she gets. In the spirit of spontaneity, Sydni lives her life with a pen in one hand and her video camera in the other; ready to capture the next great story.
It’s too cold outside, the holiday season is too busy, there’s too much delicious food to eat—it’s easy to come up with excuses for not working out. But why put off until the New Year what you can do today? The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which has been linked with better sleep, memory, balance and cognitive ability and less risk of weight gain, chronic disease, dementia and depression. Everyone knows exercise is important, but sometimes we just need a little push to keep going. That’s why we talked to Amy Wages, Regional Fitness Trainer at Orangetheory Fitness who also coaches at the Addison Studio, about how to stay motivated to work out in the fall. So tighten up your laces—it’s time to get moving!
“This season is when many people fall out of their workout routine due to busy schedules, cold weather, holiday festivities or too many holiday treats,” explained Wages. “It is so much harder to start over once the habit is broken, so I encourage people who are already in a fitness routine to keep that momentum going through the fall so they don’t have to ‘catch up’ after the holidays.”
One way to stay motivated throughout the end of the year is to switch up your workout routine, which will make it exciting again. If you normally run on a treadmill, Wages recommends taking advantage of the cooler weather and walking or jogging outside instead. Fortunately, Addison has many beautiful parks and trails to choose from, included the fairytale-esque, 3/4-mile White Rock Creek Trail hidden among beautiful trees and overlooking a creek. You could also sign up for a 5K run, like the Run the Lights 5K in Vitruvian Park on Nov. 30. This is a great opportunity to work out surrounded by other people—and the after-party with music, beer, food and holiday festivities is wonderful motivation as well!
Another workout you can add to your routine is interval training and strength training. At home, lift weights a few times a week, or take breaks during your run to do squats, push-ups and crunches. Or, sign up for classes at Orangetheory Fitness for an interval routine taught by coaches.
“Orangetheory is very efficient, meaning it is perfect for anyone who wants significant results in a short amount of time,” explained Wages. “The classes are one-hour and your metabolism kicks into overdrive for 24-36 hours post-workout. We combine endurance, strength and power training, so you are not missing out on anything. We use a variety of equipment and every workout is different, so you will never get bored. Everyone is so buy these days and Orangetheory is nice because you don’t have to plan anything or think much. Just show up, do the work and get the results.”
Take a break from cardio and strength training at least once a week to do yoga! Even beginners can do a few basic yoga poses and stretches, which will help with your flexibility and core strength. Of course, light stretching should be done after any workout to prevent excessive soreness and cramping muscles.
If changing your exercise regimen doesn’t help, you can also stay motivated by picturing the results you want. “Most people are motivated by physical appearance, so something like thinking about being able to fit into a cocktail dress or a new suit will help you stay on track,” said Wages. “I recommend setting a goal for the fall to stay on track. Something performance-based instead of just body weight. Running a 5K in under 40 minutes, running one mile without walking or doing 20 push-ups without stopping are all good goals. I also like to remind people of how good they feel when they finish a workout or when they are in a consistent workout routine. Let that awesome, good feeling be your motivation to stay active.”
Finally, find a friend or a spouse to be your workout partner. When you can’t motivate yourself, then your buddy can help keep you accountable. As a bonus, working out with someone else will help challenge you to be better, try harder and go longer.
The most important thing to remember is to do your best, and to not be too hard on yourself. Start small—take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away when holiday shopping or fit in a 10-minute sweat session to up your heart rate when you first wake up. Then, when you can, do an actual workout. It will eventually become a habit, and you can increase your intensity, frequency and endurance.
“If you are not currently in a fitness routine, now is a great time to start!” added Wages. “Once you start to see results, that should help you keep going through the winter. You won’t even need any New Year’s resolutions for fitness!”
Anything that can make you feel and look better at the end of the year is worth trying—you will never regret doing something good for yourself!