BY COSHANDRA DILLARD
Health experts say people should not let the change in seasons slow them down toward wellness. Looking the part and dressing appropriately ere ways to stay on track with fitness goals.
As temperatures dip, people — particularly runners and outdoorsmen — need to make adjustments when in the elements. Experts say they should wear clothes that draw sweat away from the body.
“For the cold season, if you're outdoors, plan for layers,” said Lacey Lafayette, a personal trainer in Tyler. “That way, as you get warm, you can peel stuff off. You also want to wear clothes that are moisture-wicking. As you sweat, it'll keep the cold away from your body.”
Cassie Ebert, exercise specialist at East Texas Medical Center's Olympic Center, emphasized the importance of wearing the right fabrics and staying hydrated.
“The body needs to sweat and cool off,” she said. “You can still get overheated, even though it's cold outside. You might not realize you're still sweating a lot and need to replenish. You can become dehydrated and you might not notice because it's cooler outside.”
There aren't too many variances when exercising indoors during the fall. A general rule of thumb, Mrs. Lafayette said, is to wear what's comfortable but nothing too oversized. Baggy clothes can get in the way of exercise.
With Pilates or yoga, the temperature is controlled so less layers and tighter fitting items are fine, she said
There may be an adjustment to shoes, however. If the shoe is too thin or light, Mrs. Lafayette recommends going for a thicker sock or heavier shoe without mesh on the outside. People should replace shoes often, depending on activity level, to prevent injury to the joints.
Mrs. Ebert said if one is exercising three and five days a week, shoes should be replaced every four to six months.
“(Shoes) may look good on the outside but can be broken down inside,” she said.
To find the right shoe, Mrs. Lafayette said to do some research. Some companies have an interactive feature on their website, such as Brooks running shoes
, which allows people to match their activity with their stride and foot shape. If all else fails, a shoe salesperson can assist with getting the right shoe.
In addition to clothing and shoes, people are urged not forget to cover ears and hands with insulating hats, ear muffs and gloves. With cold weather and wind, dry skin can be alleviated by applying a moisturizer before heading out the door. Sunscreen is needed as well.
“Sunscreen is still important,” Mrs. Ebert said. “Even on cloudy days, the UV rays are still coming through the clouds.”
As days get shorter, many runners and walkers may find themselves exercising more at dusk, dawn or at night.
Mrs. Ebert suggests people get reflective gear for safety and to inform others where they will be exercising.
MOTIVATED IN THE FALL
Mrs. Ebert notes that this season doesn't have to be an uncomfortable situation. Nutritionally, she said it becomes a problem when treats become a staple in the diet.
“Treats are still treats,” she said. “If you're scheduled to go to five different holiday parties a week, then those treats are no longer a treat. It's part of your daily caloric intake. … Indulge but have smaller portions and don't quit your exercise. Be aware of the treats that are cream-based and cheese-covered.”
Mrs. Ebert said to watch out for holiday drinks like hot cocoa, hot apple cider and mixed alcoholic drinks.
“When you are going out to holiday parties, keep portion control in mind,” she said. “Even finger foods with one bite can have 150 to 200 calories.”
Getting motivated to exercise in the fall may be difficult for some, but a lot does not have to change, especially if individuals are working out at their home or at a gym.
The key, Mrs. Ebert said, is to make time and be consistent.
“Scheduling it as part of your day is the easiest way to keep on track,” she said. “Make it a routine. Make sure it's a time for it especially with the holidays. That's when we tend to get busy and forget to take care of ourselves.”
Rainy days and cold weather won't count as an excuse. Mrs. Ebert said it'll take some improvising when the elements prevent outdoor exercise.
“It's the same thing you do in the summer when you can't go out in the heat,” she said.
For Zumba instructor Alberto Flores, 42, a change in season doesn't mean a change in the attitude about health and fitness. He's taught the popular class at East Texas gyms for nearly six years and has seen many success stories.
Since Zumba is indoors and Flores likes to keep the dances and routines fresh, it doesn't take a lot of inspiration to get his class members to be consistent.
“You can party all year long,” he said. “When people want to exercise, they don't find excuses.”
The key to finding motivation, Flores said, is finding an activity an individual loves.
“When you find a class you love, you'll give it 100 percent,” he said.
But Flores notes that it takes more than Zumba to shed weight or become healthy. Consistently doing Zumba may promise good physical results, but it's only part of the solution, Flores noted.
“You have to eat healthy,” he said. “It's a combination of things.”
Flores recognizes the obesity problem in the U.S., which leads to chronic disease. He said finding the courage to work harder is about visualizing oneself as a healthier being.
“Think about the future of your own body,” he said. “Try to be healthy. Sometimes we don't think about this. We want to think about the present, but we have to think about the future.”