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Next week will contain the darkest days of the year.  We wake up to darkness and most of us are coming home to darkness after work.  Add the cold temperatures and this is not exactly the time of year when we are the most active.

 The spring/summer time is so much more inviting to be active before and/or after work.  Waking up to a sunrise and mild temperatures encourage some element of exercise before work and when the beautiful sunsets and mild temperatures are present in May through August, we feel compelled to do some physical activity outside after dinner.

How can we avoid the pitfalls of seasonal inactivity associated with the darkness and cold?  There is no easy answer to this but here are a few suggestions:

  1. Create an inviting exercise environment at your house that has plenty of lighting and warmth.  Personally, I placed a large HD television in my well-lit basement that is kept warm.  So, for me, I pound away on the elliptical to burn off calories before work and keep myself distracted from the boredom by tuning into a good movie or show.
  2. Find a person/group of people that will meet up at the gym either before or after work.  Having the support of others encourages the activity and perhaps a social time after the work out (coffee or tea, not wine!) makes for a more inviting scenario to encourage activity.
  3. Obligate yourself to NOT stay in bed the extra half hour but instead, get up and even if it is only 30 minutes on the treadmill, get into the mind-set that you will not allow the darkness/cold to dictate your activity levels.

There is no doubt that this time of year presents challenges to staying active but activity translates into better weight control.  Embrace the challenge and step it up!