Linda Melone
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How to stay motivated even if you’re SAD (includes a fat-burning, home workout routine!)

Ever since Daylight Saving Time ended I’ve felt less than my usual optimistic, cheery self. I’m constantly fighting a desire to do nothing, which isn’t exactly a good thing when you need to make a living.

And since I do not have a giant trust fund waiting for me or a wealthy relative willing to send me a blank check, I plow through.

Can you relate?

File this under workout "non-motivators"

File this under workout “non-motivators”

Called SAD, for seasonal affective disorder, experts blame the shorter days and reduced exposure to sunlight for this form of depression.

I think a more accurate acronym may be Seasonal Unhappy & Cranky Syndrome or SUCS.

Because it totally does. * 

Winter has always bummed me out, so I thought that moving out of the Antarctic (a.k.a. a Connecticut winter) and into Southern California’s year round warm weather would help. It does, but only to a degree (no pun intended, although that does work).

The funny thing is I’m not even a little bit of a sun worshipper (the worst thing for your skin, as you know), so it’s not as if I’m upset my tan lines are fading or I have to pull in my beach blanket at 4:00.

Regardless, my motivation this time of year is lower than reality TV standards.

If you prefer to take your workouts outdoors and live in an area that gets “real winter,” your motivation may be less than optimal ‘bout now, too.

The thought of getting out of bed to bundle up in 25 lbs. layers of winter outerwear, gloves, hat, scarves and then snow blowing your way down the street is enough to make anyone book the first flight to the equator, even without an Internet connection.

So what can you do to stick with a program?

Workout buddiesCheck out these FIVE tips to get you through…

1. Become one with the cold

Embrace the cold, don’t fight it. Dress warmly in layers and take advantage of the benefits of exercising in the cold, such as walking in snow, which burns more calories than walking on dry ground. It’s like walking in sand where you’ll need more muscle power to perform the same task, only instead of an ocean breeze you get a nice icy slap in the face. At least you’ll be awake.

2. Buy a new piece of workout gear

A heart rate monitor, FitBit or other piece of tracking technology can give you motivation as you try to improve on your last results. Or, if you’re a fashionista a new pair of warm gloves or a trendy hat may make the effort worthwhile.

3. Give yourself a tune-up

Switch out of the same old playlist of tunes and upload some new, uplifting music to help you pick up the pace. Keep in mind that exercise music is most motivating at between 120 and 140 beats per minute.

4. Train for a springtime event

Sign up for a 5k or 10k charity walk or run and set that as a goal for today. Knowing you’re helping others will get you going even if you don’t do it for yourself. I once raised over $1,000 for multiple sclerosis by doing a charity bike ride. The best feeling in the world was calling my client with MS at the end and telling her.

5. Take it inside

Sometimes it’s just too out-and-out frigid to safely exercise outdoors. There’s nothing worse than feeling your nose hairs freeze with every inhalation. If you have a treadmill or other piece of home cardio equipment it’s easy to get a good interval workout in by alternating a few minutes of cardio (push it!) with a couple of resistance training moves. No equipment? Just walk or jog in place for the cardio segments.

Here’s a great sequence to try (videos for these exercises can be found in this earlier post):


  1. 5-minute warm-up of your choice (treadmill or walk/jog in place)
  2. Squats 30 to 60 seconds
  3. Hip bridge 12 to 15x
  4. Calf raises 12 to 15x
  5. 2 to 3 minutes of cardio (as fast as you can go!)


  1. Push-ups 12+
  2. Dips on a chair 12+
  3. Biceps curls 12 to 15x
  4. 2 to 3 minutes of cardio


  1. Lateral raises 12 to 15x
  2. Planks 30+ seconds
  3. Reverse crunches 15+ (video included here since it’s not on the original sequence)

  1. 2 to 3 minutes of cardio



Now you.

Are you an outdoor exercise fan? If so, what do you do on really cold days? Let me know by leaving a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.

Spread the work to all your ageless friends, too. I’d be forever grateful ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ !

You may also like:

3 Best Ab Exercises For Women Over 50

5 Weight Training Rules For An Ageless Body After 50

Whittle Your Waist With This Protein-Workout Combo


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*I make fun, but SAD can be serious if it goes on or is severe, so see a doctor if it’s beyond what you can handle.

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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