Adapting your workout routine for the changing season is a breeze. Just make sure to consider an important aspect of the shifting calendar and how it affects your workout: daylight, or the lack thereof. As the temperatures decrease, so do the hours of sunlight. If you prefer to run your Monday Mile in the early morning or after work, you’ll find yourself running in the dark. There are ways to do this safely, so this Monday, keep your healthy lifestyle moving even without the sun!
One of the hardest parts of exercising in the dark is motivation. We like to sleep when it’s dark, and the darkness can also make us feel less safe without the openness and visibility of daylight. Some people even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and experience symptoms of depression when daylight decreases. You’ll need to make some adjustments to make the light-to-dark transition a little easier on yourself. Start by investing in reflective clothing and gear plus a few light layers for the cold, then follow these hints to change your routine:
If you work out in the morning, have your workout clothes laid out and ready so you don’t have to search for them in the dark. The goal is make the mornings as easy as possible while your body and brain may still feel sleepy. Have devices charged, a bottle of water poured, and sneakers in place and you’ll be able to roll out of bed and into your Monday Mile within minutes.
You can also line up a workout buddy to keep you motivated. Whenever you do your workout, check in with each other to make sure you’re still suiting up and following your routine. Having someone to whom you’re obligated, or someone else who is depending on you, plays on your emotions and is designed to make you accountable if you don’t show up. But mostly, this is about being committed to your health!
Running in the dark can also be a meditative activity. Without the glare of sunlight, your senses will get a chance to take in different sensations and observations for a change; depending on where you run, you could be surrounded by a whole new variety of sounds — including silence! And if you run or walk the same route on a regular basis, it may feel like a whole new environment in the dark.
Just because the sun is rising later and setting earlier doesn’t mean you should cut back on your workout. If you invest in the right gear and enjoy the changed atmosphere, you can keep running or walking your Monday Mile throughout the fall and winter!