Keep Exercising
BLURB: Thinking about taking a break from your exercise routines this winter? You’ll start again in Spring, right? Think again. Maintaining your workout routine has a variety of benefits, from increased confidence to reduced stress to general feeling-goodness. Here are five compelling reasons to get off the couch and get down to the gym this winter.

Part of the reason we went into the silicone ring business is because we wanted to give people the ability to work out and go to the gym without having to worry about damaging their wedding bands. How’d we get to know this was a problem for a lot of people? Because we got to know them by spending time with them.

What else did we learn from these people, other than the fact that they had a need for silicone rings? We noticed that a lot of people are going into “hibernation” this time of year (at least, our customers in the northern hemisphere), setting aside their exercise habits until the Spring. This thought process makes sense. After all, the beach season is done and gone, so you don’t have to worry about looking good in the sun for a while. Not to mention, this tends to be the time of season that people actively work against their dieting goals (between Thanksgiving and Christmas), and any extra pounds they put on will disappear come Spring, right?

Yeah, it makes sense in a way, but ideally you’ll want to keep going to the gym on a regular basis even through the winter months. Is going to the gym as exciting as, say, jogging down a beach while getting a tan? Maybe not, but you’ll still want to make regular trips to the gym to keep in shape. Can you think of any reasons why you’d want to ditch the Christmas specials and lift some dumbbells? Here are five reasons to get you started:

1. The holidays. Like we mentioned above, the holidays put a lot of strain on the belt. Between the five or six helpings of turkey on Thanksgiving and the banquet of Christmas, you’re introducing a lot of heavy food into your body. And you’re right – when you go back to working out in the spring, whatever excess weight you put on will melt right off.

But what about right now? Here’s the thing: putting on a few extra pounds isn’t just a temporary thing. If you’ve spent the last few months looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing someone fit and trim, and now you look in the mirror and see yourself getting a little bulgy around the edges, it’s going to impact your confidence. You’re going to undermine your self-image and increase your self-consciousness.

And the thing is, this can all be avoided. How? Head to the gym a couple of days a week (or five). Stick to the treadmill, lift some weights. Keep the weight down and your confidence UP.

2. Starting over. Have you ever had a vacation from work? You probably remember how it felt the Friday before you left. You were doing ten thousand things at a time and your productivity was through the roof, partly because you were looking forward to your vacation (and didn’t want it interrupted) and partly because you were just “in the zone”. Then you take your week off and think about anything BUT work. When you come back that Monday, what happened? No longer are you able to maintain 200% productivity. Why?

You might say it’s because you weren’t motivated. On that Friday, you WANTED to get everything done so you wouldn’t have to worry about it while you were on your vacation. But that’s really not the reason.

The REAL reason you were able to get that much work done was because you were “in the zone”. You’d worked the previous Thursday, and Wednesday, and Tuesday, and Monday, and the previous Friday before that, etc. Working had become a part of your routine.

When you took your vacation? That routine was interrupted. You adapted new routines. Picking up your old work routine became more difficult as a result.

And sure, maybe you were able to return to your routine after a day or so, but the point is: for those couple of days, your routine was off.

Now think of this in terms of your workout routine. When you take a break from your workout routine, it’s going to become harder to pick it up again.

Even if you do, you’re going to have to work just to get to the point you were at before you quit. So by taking a break, you’ve actually set yourself back! Had you kept going, you’d be able to do more reps and run longer distances. Instead, you’re trying to play catch-up.

And the one killer? As you get older, you’re able to do less and less. You might get to a point where “picking up where you left off” just isn’t an option. Sure, maybe you could have maintained your pace, but because you took a winter break, you’re no longer able to get back to where you once were.

In short, saying “I’ll start again in the Spring” is an excuse – and you might find that starting again isn’t an option.

3. Keep Calm. In other words, reduce your stress. Think of it this way: come Christmas, you’re going to have the in-laws over, right? And if you’re in a business that sells, while, anything, you’re going to notice a drastic decrease in sales come January, because people are still paying off their credit cards from the holidays (and maybe you are too, only you’re getting fewer hours and less pay).

In other words, you’re stressed.

But, you don’t have to be. Stress is caused by a chemical called cortisol. When you work out, you’re managing that chemical and keeping it from becoming unmanageable. This is because endorphins are released – the hormones that give you that “feel good” feeling you have after a workout (the so-called “runner’s high”, for example, is caused by endorphins).

So which would you rather do? Would you rather go headlong into the most stressful time of the year completely unprepared? Or would you rather maintain your fitness regimen and keep your stress safely under control?

It only makes sense.

4. People like you more. Okay, maybe this isn’t entirely true, but you’re going to be feeling better, and this is going to translate to your interpersonal relationships.

A lot of people in the winter months find that they experience something called seasonal depression, which is a result of reduced exposure to sunlight (and thus less Vitamin D entering the body). Along with some vitamin D pills, exercise can help you keep your mood at reasonable levels – which means you’ll be getting along with your family, your friends, and your coworkers. And speaking of your family, maintaining your workout regimen through the winter also communicates an awesome lesson to your children: no matter what the circumstances, always persevere and chase the things you want. Never “take a break” or give up “because you don’t feel like it”. Shrug it off, get up, and go get what you want!

Now that’s a lesson worth demonstrating.

5. Confidence. Confidence breeds confidence. If you usually take a break during the winter, you might not be confident in the benefits. After all, during the summer, the benefits are obvious – you have a hot beach bod, you look good in a bathing suit, and you generally feel better about yourself during those months when more of your body is showing. During the winter, they’re less obvious.

But they’re there. You just have to discover them. And once you do, you’ll become confident in those benefits. And that confidence will increase, and increase.

What happens then? That confidence spills over into other areas of your life. Thinking about starting a new project mid-January? You’ll be confident. Thinking of popping the question on Valentine’s Day? You’ll be confident. Thinking about starting a business in the Spring? You’ll be confident.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Going to the gym builds confidence, and the more you have, the more you can create.

What are you going to do to keep active during the winter? What other benefits can you think of to keeping your exercise routine regular? Let us know in the comments below!