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Paige Waehner

Vote: What's the hardest part about exercising this time of year?

By November 26, 2012

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One thing I always realize this time of year: I'm much more concerned about my clients missing workouts than they are. This is particularly true as people get sidelined, perhaps even railroaded, by the holidays. Case in point: One client couldn't make her usual time, so I texted another option. That didn't work either, so I texted her another. And another. And another. After the 4th or 5th time, she suggested I should just 'let it go' and I sensed that, if I didn't, she would probably file for a restraining order.

The truth is, it's not just about having the time to exercise this time of year. It's also about being stressed out and tired. It's about being distracted by so many tasks. It's about the fact that the absolute last thing on your mind is trying to fit in a workout when your entire universe is poised to explode.

I'm seeing that a lot lately and it makes me sad. Who am I supposed to torture if all my clients are busy with holiday stuff?

Anyway, thinking about what's going on with you, what's the hardest part of exercising this time of year? Is it finding the time? Finding the motivation? Or is it finding the energy to even care about exercise right now? Vote in this week's poll and leave a comment telling us what you're struggling with. Alternatively, if you're having no problem with your workouts, tells us how you're staying on track. We could all use the inspiration.

November 26, 2012 at 11:42 am
(1) scout says:

I have a difficult time empathizing. I really believe that a lot of the stress people experience at this time of year is self-imposed. I just don’t buy into the commercialism or the complications of the holidays. The holidays are to enjoy not simply to endure.

November 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm
(2) Irwin says:

My problem is not going to exercise, it is not to over eat during the ‘winter’.
I normally do not touch candy but try to get through Halloween Eve without..
Thanksgiving is 4 days; X-mas party is around the corner, Christmas Eve-Day and on to New Years. Throw in a couple of Jewish holidays and I’m 5 pounds heavier than on Labor Day.
Gives me incentive to go to the gym and extra walking…in the cold.

November 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm
(3) crow says:

I agree with Scout. Holidays are nice I guess, but I usually let them pass by without much notice or thought. I just keep the same exercise and life routine all year and wish everyone a happy holiday, whichever one it is.

November 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm
(4) vicki says:

I don’t belong to a gym right now so am limited to running on the weekends due to work and the darkness factor!

November 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm
(5) Ryan says:

Hardest thing for me? I often get sick during this time of year, makes it hard to consistently exercise

November 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm
(6) Karen says:

The hardest part about exercising, especially at this time of year, is pushing through the initial resistance — the first minute or two– to getting started. Once you’re going, you’re not going to quit without doing something, and you can give yourself permission to adjust as needed.

November 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm
(7) Alex says:

Hardest part of exercising this time of the year has to be the weather. Waking up really early in the freezing cold to exercise can be a real struggle. I’ve made it a habit to not make it an excuse. I’m currently biking to and from work and the gym so it’s not impossible to stay on track and focused.

November 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(8) John says:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with “not working out” or “taking time off.” As a matter of fact, the body needs a rest sometimes…even from working out. Fitness is an important part of health, but so is recovery. When we work out constantly, throughout the entire year, tissues eventually become worn. Microtrauma accumulates and the next thing you know you have an ache or a pain.

Truth is, taking a couple/few weeks off 2-3 times per year is excellent for the body. It allows the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that we push throughout the year to recover and regenerate.

The holidays are an excellent time to take this time off. Physical fitness is only one part of health. Mental health is just as important, and when the holidays come about, it’s a perfect time to let the body rest and stimulate the mind with family and friends.

November 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm
(9) Paige says:

I have been so good about exercising and eating right up until the last week or so. It’s because I ALWAYS get sick this time of year. I’m sort of worthless when I’m sick, I get lazy with my cooking and want to go for what’s easier. And I have a hard time getting myself to the gym because I can hardly breathe, have a sore throat, am coughing and light headed. In the grand scheme, I missed my workouts for a week and a half, so it’s not the end of the world, as long as you don’t give up and can get back into it!

November 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm
(10) Teresa says:

Paige – I was feeling exactly that way last week… so busy, stressed, overwhelmed and tired, but I actually wanted so badly to go to the gym but couldn’t seem to get there! My daughter was out of school sick with strep, and everyone was home… I couldn’t seem to get away and then got lazy and didn’t even make it out for a walk. I do better if I get to the gym & have a structured work out, but when I can’t get to the gym, I need to figure out something else. I actually squeezed in a few pushups and squats and did stretching. Interestingly, as John said, my trainer advised me to take this week off, because of a small injury and that he felt I needed rest. So depending on our situation, sometimes rest is necessary. If I have to rest, I have to learn how to not drive myself crazy about making it to the gym! I tend not to enjoy the rest because I feel I need to be working out & feel guilty about not being able to! Crazy, LOL!

November 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm
(11) Doug Jowdy says:

It is what the social psychologists call “group think” or “self-fulfilling prophecy.” People hear and/or think this time of the year is harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle it will be. It is plain and simple. If there is a will there is a way. For the people who get too stressed and don’t work out, well enjoy the stress and don’t feel guilty about working out. Otherwise, boycott Christmas shopping to decrease the stress and donate that money to charity. Let those entitled friends or family members who expect gifts to deal with it. If they don’t understand a need for self-care and the desire to benefit to better causes than materialism question the quality of the relationship. I know it is not easy but is not exercise and sport supposed to lead to personal growth and development. The challenges we face “sticking with it” are invaluable learning opportunities. Be grateful you can exercise and are not sitting in a spinal cord injury rehab center unable to feed yourself.

November 28, 2012 at 9:23 am
(12) Holly says:

This time of year makes me even more determined to move for multiple reasons:

1. Combatting the stress and overeating of the holidays. Let’s face it, as always our number one excuses are all the more reason to workout. Exercise leaves me feeling less guilty about eating less scrupulously this time of year and the world always feels like a slightly better place when experiencing the good endorphins during and after a workout. My run is also my relax time. I put on happy tunes and let my mind clear as my body hits a stride. That clear mind sticks around after the run, helpings me tackle the other tasks more easily. Also consider switching your soundtrack. Usually run to hard rock or pop? Try holiday music, a mellow sound track, classical, or some fun oldies (my favorites of the moment are The Beach Boys and Bob Marley).

2. Spending time with friends and family. I am fortunate to have a family that loves lifting and racquetball and is more dedicate to their workouts than I am. A trip to the gym or two is part of the schedule every holiday when we are all home.

3. The challenge and motivating others. My boyfriend no longer has gym access this winter due to cost. To help both of us stay moving I have encouraged him to pick up winter running again and have started doing it myself for the first time. (Previously if it dropped below 65 I hit the indoor track… Sometimes.)

4. Winter sports. I snowboard. Not well, but I enjoy it. It can be a major calorie burner. It is also a fun, social thing that can be made into part of a vacation or weekend activity with friends and family… And I can allow myself a guilt free cup of hot cocoa or a beer with my sweetie by the fire after burning energy like that all day. Iceskating can be fun too, but doesn’t have the same variety to keep my attention for long.

I hope this can help some of you beat your holiday blues too!

December 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm
(13) greg says:

I exercise and diet most of the year to enjoy the food and company and friends in these holidays. I reward myself with pies and Tamales in Christmas and I don’t feel guilty about it.

December 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm
(14) Cynthia says:

I really dislike running on the treadmill. We lose light too quickly after work in the evening, and the mornings (when I usually go) is cold. Trying to suck it up and make myself go regardless of the temp!

December 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(15) Jacque says:

Sometimes my husband and I go a couple of months without working out at the YMCA, and we are members! However, this past week we started weightlifting again and I feel so much mellower. School is pretty demanding, I’m a 60 year old student, but I’m cruising now–the “quarter” has only one or two more weeks to go.

We both have spent our lives from teen years forward bicycling, walking, dancing, doing yoga and tai chi, and weightlifting. I have to stretch once or twice after weightlifting to avoid knots here and there. My husband never stretches, he is one relaxed fellow.

His employer’s wellness system demands regular online accounting of activities (to get the best rate) and I hope to be able to truthfully claim a fair amount of activities starting this spring. So I say, take time off if you need to and when you’re feeling like you need to workout, get to it.

December 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm
(16) JF says:

Scout makes a great point.

December 4, 2012 at 8:53 am
(17) karen says:

Running Vicki:

I’m a runner girl myself. Go into your local running store and will find running lamps that you can wear on your head or hand held. Happy trails.

December 4, 2012 at 10:19 am
(18) Mike M. says:

Hey! It’s O.K. to miss a workout! Just don’t make a habit of it!

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