5 tips for staying active as daylight shrinks


5 tips for staying active as daylight shrinks

As the days shorten and the air gets colder, it’s easy to think of the cozy comforter waiting at home instead of the treadmill waiting at the gym.
But exercise plays an important role in staying healthy, so it’s important to take proactive steps to maintain your workout routine even as daylight hours shrink.
“Staying active through regular exercise is one of the best things people can do to support overall health,” said Dr. Sean Nguyen, a family medicine physician at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at The Market Common. “Regular physical activity lowers your risk of conditions such as high blood pressure and stroke and can improve cognitive function and your overall mental health, as well. I strongly encourage everyone to incorporate walking, yoga, fitness classes, swimming – really any kind of physical activity you enjoy – into your routine as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Helpful for the holidays

One great benefit of exercise is its ability to help people manage stress, which can increase during the holidays, says Angie Hill, senior health and wellness director for Tidelands Health Pawleys Family YMCA.
“It’s amazing how much exercise helps with stress,” Hill says.

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Tidelands Health is the exclusive health system partner of the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, including Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health Pawleys Family YMCA and Tidelands Health Georgetown Family YMCA. Together, the two organizations are providing the community with access to a broad variety of services and programs to improve health and wellness.
Here are Hill’s top five tips for keeping your workout going as the days get shorter:

1. Schedule it

Make an appointment with yourself every day to get some workout time. Treat it like a work meeting or any other commitment you would make to someone else – but make this one to yourself.

2. Find a partner

Whether it’s a workout partner, a Zumba classmate or a personal trainer at the YMCA, a little external accountability is a great motivator. Consider finding someone else to partner with you for workouts.

3. Change it up

Can’t get up in the morning? Shift your workout to later in the day when your energy levels are higher. Make time at lunch for a trip to the gym or head there instead of going home after work to avoid losing motivation.

4. Try something new

Keep yourself motivated by mixing up your routine. Add a new exercise to your usual schedule or try a new workout entirely to see how much you like it. Switch from dumbbells to kettlebells or from the treadmill to the elliptical machine.

5. Find a gym

If you’re used to exercising outside during warmer weather, going to a gym can keep you motivated when the weather turns colder and the days shorter. At YMCA of Coastal Carolina locations, you’ll find a full array of cardiovascular and resistance training equipment, health and wellness programing for all ages and much more – all at a low cost and with no yearly contract.

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Whatever your plan for keeping up with your workout during the winter, Hill says there’s one element that’s more important than any other:
“Just get yourself through – or out – the door.”

Dr. Sean Nguyen is a family medicine physician practicing at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach.  A native of Myrtle Beach, Dr. Nguyen speaks English and Vietnamese.

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