Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to Stay in Shape as the Weather Gets Colder

Fit Tips for Fall - Photo of Autumn Splash of Color ©Katrena
Many people find that the Autumn season brings many things with the cooler weather: a burst of color on the trees, watching Fall sports, and finding unwanted pounds. Find practical tips for avoiding weight gain as the weather turns cooler.
How to Make an Exercise Plan for Cooler Months ©Katrena
Make a Plan to Avoid Weight Gain in Autumn

Some people find that cooler weather means putting on extra pounds only to dread working them off as the temperatures climb. Wearing warmer clothes hides a lot, and it can be rather cozy to hang out on the couch or the bleachers while cheering for favorite teams, but it means a lot of extra work at some point to get back to the starting point on the weight. I know. I've been there more than once and feel your pain if you have faced the scales only to discover that they tell the ugly truth about balance between eating habits and exercise.

Fitness goals work much better with a clear plan, and writing it down can help solidify those intentions. Ideas for things to include on a fitness plan might include:
  • How many times per week to exercise
  • Types of exercise preferred
  • Types of exercise you are willing to try
  • Eating goals – the United States Department of Agriculture now has a site called My Plate that has taken the place of the pyramid.
  • Backup plan for foul weather, injuries, cravings, etc.
  • Find an accountability partner.
How to Avoid Weight Gain in Fall ©Katrena
 Exercise Plans for Cooler Weather

Many people enjoy exercising outside as the weather becomes cooler. The temperatures may become quite comfortable to get in a walk, ride, or jog amidst the beauty of nature, but Fall allergy sufferers may avoid being outside since ragweed may be rampant. If you feel comfortable during this season, you might want to include outdoor activities.

I especially like walking this time of year, and I keep a stroller in the trunk of my car so that I can take my daughter for a ride immediately after dropping of the older two girls at school. That brings up another point about exercise: people are usually more likely to stick with something if it is convenient and works well with their schedule. I know that if I drive back home, the likelihood that I'm going to exercise that day decreases drastically.

Those who plan to travel to another place will do well to pick up a schedule at the start of each month. Group exercise times, instructors, and classes may change from time to time. There's nothing like showing up to exercise to discover that the facility or class is closed.

Making a backup plan is almost as important as developing the primary one. Sometimes snow or rain happens at unexpected times. The car might break down. If the original plan is not working out, have a plan B, and it does not necessarily have to cost a lot of money:
  • Some malls open early for walkers.
  • Some indoor tracks may be available at low or no cost for walkers, even within gyms.
  • Many consignment shops offer exercise videos.
  • Libraries often have exercise videos available for free check-out.
  • Dumbbells and yoga mats are portable and don't usually have a huge pricetag.
  • Playing the radio and dancing to favorite music may be a nice break from a regular fitness routine.
Tips for Healthy Eating During Autumn ©Katrena
    Eating Plans for Cooler Weather

    This is the one that gets many people, and I'm certainly not immune. Holidays often mean a break from good eating habits. Make a plan after Halloween if you end up with loads of candy afterwards. Find places that would like a candy donation after the holiday. Plan to make at least one healthy dish for holidays such as Thanksgiving. You don't have to go totally health food for those special occasions, but having a few healthy choices might give a great balance.

    Purchase fresh fruits and keep them handy at home. You won't eat healthy foods if you don't have them available. If you dread cutting up fruits, find easy ones like grapes or bananas. There are a wide variety of fruit peelers and cutters and food processors out there to help make preparing healthy, fresh snacks easier.

    Limit the amount of junk food available at home. If you don't have it handy, the unhealthy snacks are harder to access. Save the money and make special plans. Budgeting eating habits is often much more difficult than budgeting time to exercise for many people, but it can be done.

    Accountability Partner Helps People Stay on Track With Exercise ©Katrena
    An Accountability Partner Can Provide Moral Support

    Want to stay on track? Find someone that is willing to speak up if you start to go astray and who will encourage you when you need a lift. An accountability partner might be a family member or friend. A personal trainer help many people stick with their fitness goals. Although face-to-face may be preferred by many people, some people also do well with long-distance accountability partners. You know yourself better than anyone, but an unbiased watchful eye can particularly help those who are externally motivated.

    If you slip up, that doesn't mean that you have to ditch the plan. Tweak it and keep moving forward. Most people need to revise fitness plans from time to time. The body gets used to particular exercises. Injuries happen. Cravings also happen. It is a process...one that is worth developing!

    Check with a healthcare provider regarding safe exercises and eating plans customized for your own needs.

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