Staying Active with Less Daylight

By By: Brie Cadman
11/24/2012 1:06:23 PM

While I used to have ample time to fit in a trail run or swim after work, now I’m facing the prospect of barely making it home before sunset. Unfortunately, this means it gets even harder to stick with our late-in-the-day workout plans, jut as holiday eating season begins.  

However, rather than mourn the long, pleasant days of summer (like I am right now) we have to come up with a game plan to stick with, or even start, a workout regimen. Why? Because it’s much more fun to buy a winter coat than to gain one and much easier to get rid of it once we’re back into spring.

Embrace the Morning

If you’re an outdoor exerciser, you’ve probably already started to notice the sunset impinging on your evening workouts. That’s one reason it might be a good idea to make the switch to the mornings. Even though waking up on a cold, dark morning can sometimes be more painful than a root canal, there are many benefits: watching the sun rise while on an early bike ride, getting your exercise out of the way, and an improved chance of sticking with your workout routine.

Join a Gym

A friend of mine who lives in New York City is an avid outdoor runner for most of the year; she usually gets up around 5 a.m. to run along the river, day in, day out. But come November, when the temperature drops low and the days are shorter, she resigns herself to the fact that she can’t stay outside and enjoy it all year. So, she joins a gym for the fall and winter months and heads back outdoors when the daylight and temperatures increase. Gyms are great because they’re always lit, temperate, and you can do your favorite activities (or simulations of them) rain or shine.

Shorter Workouts

We often think that to reap the benefits of exercise we have to do it for sixty minutes a day. However, some research has found that short, intense bouts of exercise may be just as effective as longer workouts.

For instance, researchers at Southwest Missouri State University found that ten-minute spurts of intense exercise that totaled thirty minutes were effective in lowering blood triglyceride levels. So, if you don’t have time to fit in a full workout due to shortened daylight hours, there are two options: do shorter, more intense workouts or do splits, one short workout in the morning and another in the evening.

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