This is the end for me…the end of the bleak midwinter! I was born and raised in the Midwest, but am NOT a winter person. I am pretty sure I have a touch of seasonal affective disorder, SAD, and the short, dark days of winter are no friend to me. I enjoy being outside doing almost anything in the warmer weather, but there are just no winter activities I am very into, other than snowshoeing, and its usually too frigid or icy for running or walking; at least using my standards. (I am just not tough enough to run when my water bottle might freeze over!) How does this fit into an overall wellness plan? While I definitely keep up my workouts, mostly in the gym, and try to keep things interesting by trying different exercises, I switch into maintenance mode. I just try to stay within 2# of my pre-Thanksgiving weight. This allows me to enjoy the holiday season while not flying completely out of control. It also allows me a mental and physical break from constantly being “in training,” since I try and cram a LOT of activity into the nice weather, knowing it won’t last.
So by the time February finally arrives, I am thankful that it’s the shortest month. (I think this shows that even Mother Nature has SAD!) Now, I realize that the temperatures don’t just shoot up on March first, but when you are trying not to obsess about the many frigid months in a row, you have to learn to take things step by step! Here are a few of the hurdles I always celebrate clearing each year:
- The end of the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the winter solstice holiday of your choosing, New Years and Valentine’s Day)
- Winter Olympics (Obviously not a yearly hurdle)
- Football season ends
- Awards season, mainly the Grammy’s and Oscars, is over
- Baseball spring training has begun
- Mardi Gras
- Longer days with what I think should be declared a holiday..Daylight savings time!
- And the biggie…February is over!
Now that I am almost through with my odd, SAD checklist, I can actually allow myself the thoughts of warmer weather and the activities that are to come…kayaking, camping, farmers markets… (If I were thinking about these too much over the past two months, I’d be even more cabin-fever-ish than I am today!) And now the overall wellness plan can switch into a different mode as well! “maintenance mode” is over, and I can start thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, which is, unrealistically, getting faster, stronger in every part of my body, and building endurance! However, I am not competing for money or glory and have no endorsement deals, so all my hopes boil down to being able to stay healthy while I try and perform the best I can, whether it’s a 5K, obstacle race, or even a hike while out camping.
There is also the issue of weight–isn’t there always? While I am happy and fortunate enough to be at a healthy weight, I would like to stay that way, and perhaps reduce my amount of body fat…hopefully replacing some of it with muscle! And this is why NOW is the time to get moving:
- The summer season here in the Midwest is only about 3 months.
- Let’s say you want to lose 10# by summer; for the beach, wedding, or whatever goal you have in mind. Since women should try for 1-2# of loss per week (often 1# for women,) the three months of March, April and May gives you time to be sure you hit that goal and gives you time to shop for a hot-looking, new summer wardrobe!
- Of if you have a fitness goal, like a race of some sort, training plans can stretch anywhere from 8 weeks (5K) to over 4 months (marathon,) so it’s a perfect time to get started on one to get you across that finish line!
Because I am trying to hit the road, bike paths and trails running (pun completely intended,) I don’t want to wait until May or June to START working out for the summer months, because they’ll be over before I get to my peak, speediest and strongest self! (Relatively speaking, of course!) So while today’s physical activity includes shoveling and going to the gym, yet again, I do it with a lighter heart and an eye towards the days where my workouts will take place in warm, sunny weather, and I’ll be grateful for today’s workout, and glad I started NOW!
Walking to New Orleans Update: at the end of February, I have traveled 116 miles!