By Dr. David Ebbecke, PT, DPT, MBA, OCS
As the days get shorter and colder, we may not have the motivation to work out. Dark skies before and after work are intimidating, especially for those of us who exercise outside. Even for those who hit the gym, the thought of trekking there and back in the dark can be demotivating.
A lack of exercise combined with food cravings (triggered by a seasonal drop in serotonin) can have serious
consequences. According to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American adults gained an average of one pound
from September to late March. This may seem insignificant, but the study also showed the weight never came off;
instead, adding up over many years.
Despite the biological and environmental pressures to lounge, it is possible to stay fit by adjusting your routine to
accommodate the season. If you love to exercise outdoors, get a layered, warm outfit with reflective details that will be seen by drivers. You may also want a workout partner to keep you company in the dark.
Alternatively, move workouts indoors. Consider exercising at home. There are DVDs for everything, from yoga and
dance to martial arts and strength training. Cross training with new activities throughout the winter will leave your
body stronger and more balanced.
Or, try to exercise midday. Jog during lunch, or join a gym near the office. Also, incorporate activity wherever you
can—take the stairs, walk while on the phone, do lunges while making dinner. Stay fit now and be ready to enjoy the
warmer, longer days ahead.
Dr. Ebbecke is a 1996 graduate of Shenandoah University and earned his Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS) in 2006, taking ownership of Piedmont Physical Therapy in 2009. He has a special interest in biomechanical problems in the lower extremities and preventing injuries in athletes, and is a certified FMS exercise specialist. He can be reached via piedmontpt.com.