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Mindful : February 2018
little bit—than nothing at all. Consistent exercise builds momentum, and that builds on itself. At some point, your workout will become a habit and you won’t have to think about it as much. Over time, with commitment and consistency, you’ll increase your laps in the pool, the speed of your walk, and the weight you use for squats. You keep building from wherever you are. Set an Intention As you start, take a moment to set a clear inten- tion, which can be like a compass: It directs your mind, keeping you motivated and focused. Strong intentions will bring about strong results. Here are a few examples of powerful intentions: I am going for a run to clear my head. During this yoga class I will be kind to myself. On my walk, I’ll let these prickly thoughts fly. I’m going swimming to increase my strength. I won’t judge myself during this weight training class. May this hike in the woods bring me peace of mind. → When you’re faced with short days and chilly temperatures, you may find the couch calling out to you ever more loudly. Research indicates, though, that hibernating during winter isn’t such a good idea. According to the Mayo Clinic, diminished sunlight can cause levels of sero- tonin (the feel-good hormone) to drop, exacer- bating our low motivation as we feel more tired and hungry. Being sedentary during winter may also trigger those prone to depression and sea- sonal affective disorder (SAD). The good news? A Harvard Medical School study suggests that exercise boosts both mood and health, especially during the colder, darker days of winter. If you tend to head for your jammies, not your running shoes, try shifting your attitude. Like a coach, positive attitudes can give you the “go get ’em” encouragement to stay in the game. Here are a few tactics to help keep you—and your attitude—light and bright this winter. Start Small and Build Exercising consistently can be challenging. If you’re ready to take on an active lifestyle, remember that you don’t need to run a marathon tomorrow. You don’t even need to run. Start with a daily walk. Be steady. It’s better to do something active every day—even if it is just a To watch Cara demonstrate an energizing 3-minute practice go to mindful.org/ winterblahs ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cara Bradley is the author of On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine and founder of Verge BodyMind Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania. 70 mindful February 2018