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HEALTHY LIFESTYLES: Spring snows don't have to keep you from exercising

What in the heck?! I thought we were in for summer workouts. I even bought new running shoes and then woke up to SNOW! Now you know, I moved back to the Northland to enjoy seasons and I love winter, but I was really ready for outside. So what's a...

What in the heck?! I thought we were in for summer workouts. I even bought new running shoes and then woke up to SNOW!

Now you know, I moved back to the Northland to enjoy seasons and I love winter, but I was really ready for outside. So what's a girl to do when she's outside one day and inside the next? Not let weather derail her fitness goals, that's for sure! This is the perfect example of why you need a back up plan when it comes to working out. Conditions, equipment, clothing, people will not always be perfect and you will have to accommodate if you are going to take control of your lifestyle.

How will you move your workouts indoors? Many enjoy the variety of both indoor and outdoor workouts, but you must be ready to deal with uncertain weather and changing plans. When moving indoors there are a few things to consider.

First, what lifestyle changes do you need to make? Do you need more time, different hours, or more variety? These questions are important to ask yourself before you have the chance to talk yourself out of going to exercise because it is too wet, too cold, or too boring. Will you need to make different parking or transportation accommodations? What about safety issues? Clothing, especially shoes? How about motivation and mood considerations? Many find they are not as motivated during cloudy or cold days.

So what happens when you begin to move outdoors. Yes it may be cold to Southerners, but we are not Southern, now are we? Forty degrees is a heat wave this time a year. If you happen to be wandering through the woods, dress in layers. You'll want to be able to take off clothing as you get warm and add it as you get chilled. It is important to seek out good gear for cold or wet workouts. Gear can be the difference between a great outdoor experience and a so-so one.

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Pay attention to how extra gear affects your alignment and posture, notice what muscles are stronger or weaker and how you use the stronger to compensate (recipe for pain). Make sure to hydrate right. The more clothing you wear the more weight you'll add to your frame, the more resistance you'll have as you walk.

We have some of the most beautiful forests in North America, enjoy them. Walking through the silent woods, just you, just nature, it's not only good for the heart, but good for the soul.

Regardless of inside or outside as the days get brighter more of us want to move. It is important to stretch with each workout. Flexibility is often ignored, but it is so important, don't forget just because your workout is different than planned. Do a quick warm-up; take some deep breaths, use small movements, gently stretch muscles that feel tight, and make sure your gear is helpful, not hurting. Once you finish any "work" spend a minute or two stretching the muscle groups you just worked. Do three to four 10 second stretches or one 30 second stretch per muscle group. Delayed onset muscle soreness usually appears one to two days after the muscle has been overloaded. Move around,warm the body up, and stretch those muscles again.

Your daily activities are your choice and what you do today will determine how you live your tomorrow. As I have alluded to before, the process of change begins in the head and then manifests in other areas of your life. Make a game plan, then a B plan, and maybe a C plan just in case you wake up to less than perfect conditions for your planned workout tomorrow.

Lifestyle challenge

Get out and move! Find three different places you can workout just in case you wake up to wind, rain, sleet, or even snow ... even though it is April.

Stacy Reuille-Dupont is owner of Superior Balance Fitness Center and Personal Balance Consulting. She can be reached at www.personalbalancewellness.com or 392-9860.

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