Give Yourself The Gift of
Motivation For The Holidays
Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.