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Guest Column: For everything there is a season, including exercise

By Joe Tscholl

Joe Tscholl is co-owner of Albert Lea’s Snap Fitness and is also a personal trainer there.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Joe Tscholl

Joe Tscholl

That’s from Ecclesiastes. I think this applies to all things fitness-related, as well.

Here in Minnesota we are gifted with four seasons, all of which involve four very different weather patterns. Therefore, changing up our exercise routine isn’t just a good suggestion, it’s a necessity.

For many of us in the Midwest, however, while we seem to stay on track for three out of the four seasons — spring, summer and fall — we can’t seem to maintain that momentum once old man winter hits. It’s like with that first snowstorm, we’ve automatically received a free pass to put our gym shoes in the closet for the next four months. Hibernation has officially begun.

The problem with that, though, is both our minds and bodies suffer. When the snow begins to melt in April, we find ourselves back at square one with about 10 new pounds to get rid of. So what can we do to keep ourselves fit throughout the changing of the seasons and especially during those cold, bleary winter months? Here are a couple ideas:

1) First and foremost, embrace the season you currently find yourself in and match up your exercise routine accordingly. For us Minnesotans and Iowans, if there’s weather you can be outside in, take advantage! Get out and bike, walk, run or swim. Try paddle boarding or golfing (walk the course for added benefits). Join one of the summer classes at Essence of Yoga downtown or through Community Education. If your kids are home with you, incorporate them into your fitness schedule.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “It’s easy to embrace summer, but just try and find something positive to say about winter.” And while, yes, winter is a little harder to get excited about, we’re tough Midwesterners and we can stay the course! What winter activities do you like? There must be some. Cross country skiing, skating, snowshoeing? All of the equipment for those activities are available for rent right here in Albert Lea. Get out and try it after a fresh snowfall, and I can nearly guarantee you will find something lovely to say about winter. And if you simply cannot bring yourself to enter the great outdoors during the cold months, get in the car and make the trip to your local gym. The hardest part is getting off the couch and putting your coat and boots on. Once you are at the gym, you will be pleasantly surprised by the new burst of energy and sense of well-being you find.

2) Keep it fresh. You can’t do the same thing day after day after day. It’s a sure-fire way to burn out. Besides that, your body adjusts and eventually becomes less responsive to the workout’s effectiveness. So keep trying new things. Look online, on YouTube or Instagram for some great workout ideas and exercises you can do right in your own home.

3) Lastly, though this may sound cliché, find a workout partner with whom you can be accountable and who can also keep you company. It’s always more fun to inflict a little pain on yourself with a friend! And remember — no pain, no gain — so don’t be afraid to push each other a little!