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Transitioning from outdoor to indoor exercise

By David Freidson | Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 12:00 am

Many Minnesotans know that we divide our seasons into two ... winter and construction. Construction season is now in its latter stages and winter is fast upon us.

For many Minnesotans that exercise, the seasons can also be divided into two: Exercising outside season, and exercising inside season. For the sake of this column, exercising outside season will correlate with construction season and exercising inside season will correlate with winter.

Many people only exercise outside when the weather is warm. When it gets colder, they turn to exercising inside. This column won't discuss all the wonderful exercises that can be done outside when it gets cold, rather, how to how to stick with a workout routine involving inside exercises when the weather starts getting cold.

The most important thing to be compliant with exercise when it's cold is to be prepared the night before. Put all your exercise clothes in your gym bag at night. For those of you who are going to work, bring your gym bag inside so that you're clothes are too cold when you go to work out.

Exercising isn't as appealing if you know that when you get to the gym, you are going to have to put on clothes that have been in your car in the cold for the past 8 hours.

Being accountable to someone is another great way to help stick with a workout program when it gets cold out. Have an exercise partner who you've set a time with to meet. If you don't feel like exercising, knowing someone is going to meet you there is big motivation to show up. You could meet to lift weights, to play racquetball, do a class together, etc.

If it is in your price range, set up sessions with a personal trainer. Personal trainers now often work in small groups so that it is more affordable. If you have already paid for a training session, you are accountable to the personal trainer to show up.

The other aspect of showing up for your personal training session is that you may lose out on money if you don't show up.

One-on-one personal training is too expensive for many and many trainers now work with small groups of two to five individuals. There are many gyms that have specific classes that are $3-$5 per class.

Often you prepay for a set number of classes, or you prepay for going to unlimited classes for that month. There are classes for yoga, cross fit, Pilates, etc. Also, some facilities require a small rental to reserve tennis, or racquetball courts.

If you aren't going outside in the winter, there are many valuable health benefits that will be lost. One lost benefit is vitamin D. You'll need to take vitamin D in supplement form or through food if you're not going outside. I could write a whole article about vitamin D, but I'll save that for a future column.

Not being outside in the winter also causes us to lose the important mood improving benefits for sunlight.

Seasonal affective disorder is a clinical condition in which depressive like symptoms occur due to lack of sunlight. There are great lamps that help mimic sunlight and can be very helpful to those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). These lamps are also great for people without full blown SAD who just feel a bit down and lackluster and want to feel a heightened mood, and increase in energy.

If you are starting any exercise program, please consult a physician first. I will be happy to do that consultation for you for free if you are interested as well as giving you a free fitness assessment. If you're interested please call my office at 952-475-4080 and bring a copy of this article to your appointment.

David Freidson is a licensed chiropractor and works out of the Synergy Health & Rehabilitation office in Minnetonka. To learn more, visit or call 952-475-4080.

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