Does Your Motivation to Exercise Change With The Seasons? Tips to Keep Your Workouts Going As The Leaves Change Colors

Days are shorter, evenings are longer and my mood has taken a swing towards melancholy. I need some motivation to keep my workouts going.

A Change of Seasons Requires A Different Plan Of Attack. 

In the summertime, when there are 15 hours of daylight, motivation is not a problem.  But I live in a state where the change of seasons is inevitable, and staying motivated to workout is even more of a challenge when the leaves begin to turn colors.

Since I’m an early morning workout girl I’m now required to get up in the dark.  Today, on top of being dark, it was raining and chilly. It would be pretty easy to talk myself out of getting up to go to the gym on a morning like this.

The same is probably true for people the after work crowd. I’m guessing these folks are leaning towards heading home for King of Queens reruns and some comfort food.

Here’s some of the ways I deal with my fall mood.

Acknowledge that this time of year is tricky. It’s not your imagination. Poems have been written about the feeling that fall brings.  It is the time of year when our instincts begin to lean towards the hibernation cycle. Recognize that it’s natural for the mood to drift towards melancholy and set your goals accordingly.

Enlist the help of a friend or co-worker.  There’s no need to go it alone.  A lot of other people are experiencing a dip in their mojo too.  Invite a friend to workout with you or take a walk with a co-worker at lunchtime.  The more you fight the urge to hibernate, the sooner it will go away.

Find a new exercise program to try.  This always works to get my motivation back on track:

  • Step into a high-energy group exercise class like Zumba, Turbo Kick or PiYo.
  • Buy a new workout DVD and get excited about an at-home workout again.
  • Sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer. Nothing works as well as paying someone to motivate.

Get plenty of rest.  We naturally feel like we have less energy when the days are shorter.  Make sure you get to bed on time so you’ll have the energy you need to maintain your schedule and to help compensate for fewer daylight hours.

Opt for a shorter workout if necessary.  If you just can’t bear the thought of doing your regular program, negotiate a shorter workout.  Once you get going and the endorphins kick in, you might find you’re ready for more.

Lighten the mood with music.  While you’re getting ready for the workout (or trying to talk yourself out of it), put the ear buds in or put the workout CD in the car stereo. Music will always increase your motivation to move it, move it!

If you mood continues to darken with the weather, it may be more than a normal seasonal shift.  People that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder have symptoms that usually begin in the fall.  Symptoms can include loss of energy, social withdraw, anxiety, depression and in general a lack of enthusiasm.  If symptoms persist, talk to your doctor about some possible remedies.

In the meantime, enjoy the fall poem by Elsie N. Brady.


How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.