The shortened daylight brings me into a different season of exercise. I try to change my routine about every 3-4 months. I don’t change it drastically, but I do try to change it based on the weather, daylight hours, and my schedule.
I used to be really rigid with my exercise plan, but I realized many years ago that I needed to be flexible if it was going to be a lifestyle I would sustain and enjoy. I don’t usually abandon any particular type of exercise (yoga, strength, cardio), but the amount of days and how it looks varies in the different seasons.
Even though I am flexible with the seasons, I do look at my calendar each week and make a plan for what type of exercise I will do each day. And then I put it on my to do list for the day. This helps me plan out what type of exercise I will do on particular days. Does my plan change? Absolutely. But it does help to hold me accountable.
One thing that has helped me in the past is to mark off on a calendar days that I exercise, so I can see how consistent I am. I set a goal for the minimum number of days per week and the number of minutes each day I am going to exercise. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, start out small. Try 20 minutes 3 times per week. Then increase to 30 minutes 4 times per week. A long term goal would be 40-45 minutes 5-6 times per week.
So, how does my routine change with the season? When the weather is warm and daylight is long, I plan on being outside when I exercise focusing on cardio about 80% of the time. This means the amount of time I spend on strength training and yoga decreases during those seasons. When the weather gets colder and the daylight is short, I focus more on yoga and strength training.
If you know me well, you know I don’t like winter. However, this winter I am going to try to walk the dogs on the weekends during the daylight. It will be good for me (and the dogs) to get out of the house and soak up some Vitamin D. At the end of winter last year, I purchased some outdoor gear that made hopefully will make it easier to brave the windy roads around my house.
Check back with me in January to see how I am doing.