Is anyone experiencing the early “winter blues” with the recent time change? Darkness at 5:30pm can definitely put a damper in your evening fitness routine. Why is there a time change (aka imposed jet lag) twice a year? Daylight Savings Time was implemented as a way to conserve energy, and has been used in the United States and many countries in Europe since the First World War. Since then, the pros and cons of the system have been debated and researched with varying results, but for most of us the biannual ritual isn’t going away anytime soon. Fall is also the time of year when the holiday season begins, bringing a range of treats from Halloween candy all the way to New Year’s party hors d’oeuvres. Here are some tips to help maintain your fitness through it all:
- Since the sun goes down earlier, consider exercising earlier. For one week, try exercising in the morning instead of the evening. You may find that you have more energy throughout the day by getting up and moving first thing. It also prevents using the darkness as an excuse to skip your workout at the end of the day.
- Go to bed earlier. Although your work hours may not change, you can shift your schedule around the sun.
- Exercise with a friend! Friends are good for motivation and accountability. If you have a partner in crime every morning, you can tackle the day and your workout together.
- If you do plan to continue your evening routine outdoors, use reflective gear. Safety is essential to avoid unwanted injuries on a run or bike ride around the neighborhood.
- Consider joining a group exercise class! Whether the sun is up or down, a cheery group of people can brighten any room. Finding something that interests you is key, whether it’s Zumba®, CrossFit, spinning, martial arts, yoga, dance etc.
This time of year is when people tend to enter hibernation and unhealthy temptations are abundant. Just remember how important exercise and taking care of yourself is despite the change. Those holiday treats will taste better and offer less guilt if you stick to your fitness regimen! ‘Tis the season!
Jeanna LeClaire Hill is a doctor of physical therapy and certified athletic trainer at HSS Spine & Sport in Jupiter, Florida. Jeanna graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training, going on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, co-owner of CrossFit Waterway, and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach.