Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Phil Tafone: Stay active this winter for a lean spring


February 9, 2016

Phil Tafone

Guest Columnist

It is no coincidence that almost all of us find ourselves a bit rounder in the middle come spring. The issues behind winter weight gain are both physiological and social. As a fitness trainer, I often have a talk with clients around this time of year to discuss some goals for remaining active and fit during winter.

Here are four tips to keeping your waistline all winter:

1. Get some sun or at least mimic sun - UV light is essential to a smooth metabolism and positive mood. If you can't get outdoors for 15 minutes per day, consider a “Dawn Simulator” or “Happy Light” to supplement your sunlight exposure. This will help prevent the depression that keeps us eating sweets as well as reduce production of cortisol, the stress hormone that keeps fat from burning.

2. Bundle up - The reality remains that we are still just a bit of DNA removed from primitive man. Your body doesn't know that you have a home with a thermostat or that meals will be available whenever you desire. As temperatures drop, your hunger will rise, until you are about as hungry as a bear pre-hibernation. Dress for winter and if you need to, keep a small space heater at your workplace. You'll want food less.

3. Be consistent - Rivers cut rock through persistence. If you're a home workout person, there's no better era to be fit than now. If you're a gym goer, consider what you like (TVs on cardio gear or do you need dumbbells up to 120 pounds?) and sign up. Set a time and stick to it. Your metabolism will improve more by exercising for 20 minutes daily than once per week for 90 minutes whenever the stars align and the kids aren't sick.

4 Hot drinks, hot body - Sort of. I often recommend that my clients enjoy a few coffees or tea during the day, and even consider one a half hour before a workout. Caffeine can be a good thing when consumed 100 mg at a time, up to three times daily. Herbal teas can have detoxifying qualities and coffee has recently been shown to be good for the heart.

Remember to go easy on sugar or use stevia and do not start a life of hot cocoa and lattes.

Most importantly, remember that every day is the start of the rest of your life. Even if you find yourself indulging week after week all the way through Super Bowl Sunday, you will still have 10 to 12 weeks to take action and turn it all around.

No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.

Phil “Capone” Tafone is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Mesalands Community College. Tafone can be reached at: [email protected]


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