It can be all too easy to let your fitness goals slip this fall as the weather cools and the days get shorter — a recipe for getting a good night’s sleep!  But with everything else going on in your busy schedule, often the only time you have to work out is at night.  So, what are some things you can do to make sure you stay fit and active even when the sun stops shining?

First, lay out your daily schedule and find the time that works best for you.  Stick to this.  Just as you would stick to attending a daily class or going to work, preparing in advance to have a certain time set aside for exercise is the best way to ensure you show up.

Take advantage of the cooler weather and get outside.  This time of year can be much more comfortable for running and biking.  Use the landscape to help you achieve your goals, too.  Hike up hills, go kayaking, take a stroll around the block.  Or, rake some leaves as they fall from the trees.  It doesn’t matter what you do to get your work out in.  It just matters that you’ve chosen to do something to maintain your health.

If you have a jam-packed schedule, try fitting in just a few minutes of high intensity cardio.  Getting on the treadmill and running at a high rate of speed for a short period of time can burn some major calories and give you a much-needed energy boost.  This is a great habit to get into when you first wake up, before you hit the shower.  It’ll jolt you awake in no time.  You can also practice this at night to destress after your busy day.  Exercise helps clear the mind and releases feel-good endorphins.

Of course, there are some great routines to try inside if the weather is too cool.  Yoga can help you feel centered while staying fit.  Cycling or step classes are also great for getting your heart rate up.  Take a class with a friend to catch up on some social time between life’s other commitments.

Above all, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself.  Life is busy, and schedules can get overwhelming.  Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster.  If you’re struggling to get in the routine you want, consider switching to a more manageable one and setting longer term health goals.  Always listen to your body and make sure you’re getting enough rest, too.

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