Eat Smart, Move More

Moving More With Less Daylight

silhouette of woman walking dog at sunsetAre you still getting used to the time change? It’s nice to have the sun shining in the morning, but it’s rough to get home after dark each evening. If you’re used to taking a walk in the evenings as a way to be active, it just got harder to commit to maintaining that habit throughout the winter. But don’t give up just yet. These tips can help you move more with less daylight this winter.

Rearrange Your Schedule

If it’s too dark to go for a walk at your usual time, switch it up. Perhaps you can walk in the morning before work or dropping off the kids at school. Better yet, walk with the kids to school! You could also sneak in a quick walk during your lunch break. Lunch breaks are actually my preferred workout time because I’m fully awake unlike early mornings, I have less distractions that make me want to skip working out, and it’s nice to take a real break at work and come back re-energized. Choose a time that works best for your schedule and your preferences.

Break It Up & Add It Up

Don’t forget that you can break up your physical activity into shorter sessions throughout the day, too. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. They have found that you can get the same benefits of 30 consecutive minutes with multiple sessions of at least 10 minutes. You can take a 15-minute walk before work and another 15 minutes during your lunch break and still get the same benefits as your 30 minute after dinner walk. It’s much easier for most people to find a few short breaks during the day to be active.

images of different physical activities; a family of three walking a beagle on a path, a father doing pushups with his son on his back, and a young woman stretching.

Move It Indoors

The early sunset and cooling temperatures may mean it’s time to take your workout indoors. There are different cardio and workout options you can do from the comfort of your living room. Your local parks and rec department has different options for moving more, such as walking tracks or weight rooms that are generally free to residents. If you have room in the budget, they also offer group exercise classes or team sports leagues, too. Mall walkers are some of the most dedicated exercisers, so consider joining them for your walks this winter.

Overcome the Dark

If you’re dedicated to your evening walks or runs, there are ways to stick with it, too. With warm clothes and reflective or glowing gear (vest, headlamp, etc.), you can keep your same route and schedule. If your local school system has a shared use agreement, they might allow community members to use their facilities after school hours. Just check with the school closest to you. You can walk around the track (which may even have lights) or sports fields. Remember to bring the kids! This might be a safer option if you usually walk along a road that doesn’t have good street lights or sidewalks.

What types of physical activities do you do to move more? How have you adjusted your physical activity routine to the time change? What questions do have about staying active this winter? We’d love to hear from you!

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