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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Give Yourself The Gift of Motivation For The Holidays

By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

There are plenty of excuses you can find all year long not to fit in fitness.  At this time of year there are extra challenges since itís cold and dark before and after work.  During the holidays there are parties and cocktail hours to compete with.  And high-fat treats are jumping into your mouth on their own, right?

The more sedentary winter season combined with the extra goodies are what cause the extra 5-8 pounds that most people pack on at this time of year.  Donít be unrealistic and think youíre going to lose weight during the holidays, but if you keep up your racewalking (maybe add a few extra miles each week), youíll at least break even without any extra weight gain when the spring rolls around.

Here are  eleven suggestions to help you stick with your racewalking during the winter:

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Set your exercise bag by the front door the night.  Going directly from work to racewalk is one way of making sure you get there.  Some walkers find that changing clothes at work and stopping by a park on their way home is helpful in fitting in their walk.  If you go home first, you'll find lots of distractions that may keep you from getting out.

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Wear a portable stereo.  Your favorite music may motivate you to keep going.  Or check out a few books on tape from your local library.  Thatís a great way to catch up on some novels and some exercise at the same time.  Please remember safety considerations when youíre wearing headphones.  A treadmill is your best bet when itís dark outside.  A park is a good choice when itís still light outside.

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If you donít have access to a treadmill, you can walk indoors at some malls.  There are also fitness and community centers that have indoor tracks open to the public.  My least favorite place to racewalk is indoors, but if it means getting in a workout or not Ė Iíd even do it indoors.

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Make appointments with other racewalkers.  Youíll be more likely to show up when you know someone is waiting for you.  Even if you walk different speeds, it helps to have someone else on the track with you.

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Reward yourself.  If you racewalk for a given number of days or certain amount of minutes, treat yourself to something special.  (Chocolate wouldnít be a good choice.)  How about a new racewalking outfit, a new cassette, dinner at your favorite restaurant, a new sportswatch, a heart monitor, new shoes?

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Try a variety of places to walk to avoid boredom.  If you always walk in the same location, at least try different routes within that area, or reverse your route for some variety.

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Don't push yourself too hard.  You will receive no additional health benefits from racewalking outside your target heart rate zone.  Exercise should be a bit of a challenge, but if it is too difficult, you won't want to continue.

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Keep a log.  This visual reminder of your accomplishments will make you feel good about already having racewalked so many minutes.  It will help motivate you to continue.  Counting minutes rather than miles is more motivating to new walkers, because it' easier to see progress.

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If you have access to a shower at work, racewalk during your lunch hour when itís light and warmer.  Youíll feel energized for the whole afternoon.  Make sure you still eat lunch when you return to your desk.

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Set a racewalk goal.  That will help to keep you motivated.  When I lived in Atlanta, aiming for the Atlanta Half Marathon kept many of us training when others had relinquished their workouts as the weather got colder.

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Use affirmations - they make it easier to establish new habits.  Affirmations help program your subconscious to accept new beliefs.  They should be positive statements and start with things like "I am" or "I have."  For example, one might be, "I am living a healthy lifestyle by racewalking every day at lunch." Repeat affirmations several times a week.  You might feel that saying affirmations is lying to yourself if you haven't already achieved the goal, but that's okay.  As long as the statement is a believable and achievable goal, it's fine.  (If you're now a size 16, saying, "I'm feeling great in my new bikini now that I'm a size six," is not an appropriate affirmation.

 
© 2007 by Bonnie Stein. All Rights Reserved.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY AND DISCLAIMER - The authors and publishers of this newsletter have used their best efforts in preparing the articles and information contained within it. Additionally, you are advised to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The authors and publishers make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages.

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