Fitness over 50

You know, that feeling that you would rather go home and snuggle on the couch instead of doing your afternoon walk, or fitness class, or that work you need to do in the yard. For most people, the motivation to exercise starts to wane around the fall.

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I blame it on the time change and the temperature change. You know, that feeling that you would rather go home and snuggle on the couch instead of doing your afternoon walk, or fitness class, or that work you need to do in the yard.

For most people, the motivation to exercise starts to wane around the fall. The afternoon daylight hours get shorter. More sweets get baked. We automatically get lazier. It’s a long way backwards to January resolutions that we made 11 months ago.

Can you even remember what it was you wanted to do? Was it to eat better? Get organized? Walk two miles a day? Or maybe you just gave up and didn’t even make a resolution.

This time of year, emotional eating kicks in because of the stress to do it all and be it all. My guess is that if you had a surefire way to de-stress, you could avoid some of the traps that the holidays bring.

That surefire way is exercise.

I have never heard anyone say, “I regret that workout.” Because you won’t.     

It’s funny how some people are so disciplined in their life about work or other avenues, but have zero discipline for exercise. But what if exercise could solve the problem of emotional eating? What if exercise could get rid of the stress you feel because your credit card is about to combust or your kids want THAT toy that no one has?

Yes, this is a stressful time of year — but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t quit doing the things you know are going to make you feel better: exercising, eating right, sleeping 7-8 hours a night.

Figure out what you would motivate you. What will it take to get you moving? Is it that cruise in April, your daughter’s wedding or even a bad report at the doctor’s office?

On the snow weekend, I was motivated by a little cabin fever and no TV or internet for 48 hours, so early Sunday morning off I went to walk my regular 2-3 miles. When I saw the cable trucks far, far in the distance, I ended up doing an extra mile just to talk to them and find out when cable would be back up — and to thank them for being out on Sunday morning to fix the cable. I guess we all have different motivations!

My point is that is super easy to slide when Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close to one another. It is cold outside, friends are coming to visit and traveling to see family is constant. I guess that is why is so important to kick back into gear when 2018 rolls around.

Don’t let all these excuses take you completely off track. But if you do slide, then forgive yourself and get back up. This time of year it happens. I want to shake your hand if you can go the entire month of November and December without sliding off track a little.

My theory is if you can keep in motion, you are way ahead of the folks sitting on the couch. Get out and MOVE 4-6 times a week. Work up a sweat. Be challenged cardiovascularly.

Be sure and set some personal goals for 2018. Ditch the thinking that it is all about looks. It is not. It is about health. If you look better, then that is a bonus.

Journal your achievements and your flops. We can learn from both. Keep a calendar with workouts penciled in.

Find other people who are like-minded and will help you keep your motivation. You never know, maybe you can motivate them.

Before you know it, the daylight afternoon hours will return, the robins will be singing and that winter motivational struggle will be long gone. Let’s do this!

Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and  manager of the Oxford YMCA. Her fitness column appears the third Sunday of each month.