The leaves are turning, the air is a bit cooler, and the sun is starting to set earlier and earlier. This, of course, means that we are well along on our descent into the darkness of winter. It also means that it’s time to undertake our biannual international moment of temporary insanity when we collectively change our clocks and pretend that astronomical circadian rhythms will accommodate our insanity. In other words, the clocks are about to change.
This time of year is always a challenge for me. Yes, we get an extra hour of sleep, but in exchange we get 4 months of enhanced seasonal depression. I grew up in Arizona where we never changed our clocks so this is something I can’t seem to get used to. People often look at me askance when I tell them I never had to fall back or spring ahead in my youth. They cock their head to the side and ask, why? I respond simply that the entire practice is amazingly stupid. The entire world goes completely insane twice a year giving us self-imposed jet lag because of an unproven hypothesis from the Victorian age. Benjamin Franklin, the inventor of the clock change, was a genius but he got this one way wrong. They can’t all be winners.
As an aside, now that the election is upon is, I would like to offer up my vote to for sale. My critical issue this election cycle is not immigration, the economy, or the supreme court. If Donald, Hillary, Gary, or Jill promise to end forever the clock change insanity they have my vote, no questions asked. At this time of year, I’m a one issue voter.
The clock change and the colder weather creates the illusion of a problem for many people. I have had countless patients tell me that they stop
exercising in the winter because its too dark and too cold. Unfortunately, this is not a formula for health or successful weight loss. Your body doesn’t care about the forecast and will pack on the pounds.
The most important thing is to recognize that the idea that bad weather means you can’t exercise is absolutely not true. Your greatest resource is the internet in this case. There are tons of websites and videos out there that can give you exercise videos that you can do in the comfort of your climate controlled home. My wife and I are currently using Daily Burn with great success. You can choose videos based on your level, time needs, and equipment. No need to bundle up to get to the gym or brave the elements going for a run. Another site we have used is called Fitness Blender. Its the product of a husband and wife personal trainer team that put together hundreds of workouts. What I like most about the site is that you can search videos by various parameters. You can narrow based on time, difficulty, the number of calories you want to burn, the equipment you have available, the part of the body you want to focus on. You can surf thousands of YouTube videos as well.
I’ve even come up with a few workouts you can do at home without any equipment as well. Just click here to check them out.
The important thing is that you can get in really great shape without a gym, in terrible weather, and when its dark outside. You can even get in shape wearing your pajamas (nobody has to see, don’t worry). The exercise will improve your mood and make it more fun to go swimsuit shopping when you make it through the dark tunnel of winter when we will all go collectively insane again and spring forward.