When Labor Day arrives, symbolizing the end of summer, it’s more than just the last of the barbeques and the putting away of the whites. White shoes. What pants. White purses. To those living in the North, it’s time to put away the warm weather clothing and the outdoor furniture, and to others, time to buy back-to-school supplies and change family schedules.

To me, it’s goodbye to long summer days filling with ample opportunities to play outside longer. Throughout the summer I take advantage of the long warm-weather days, rising early to run and workout, play golf, tennis or swim during the day, and then wrap many evenings up with a run that starts as late as 8:30 at night. I love to run at dus. There’s just something magical to me being out at time, running one with nature.

I am not alone in my feelings about the long days of summer. Many of us living in the North have to change gears and switch out our workouts. To some, they do not let the colder weather deter them and invest in warmer workout clothing and keep on going. They still get out there as diehards and play golf, ride the trails, or, better yet, embrace the cold weather and participate in winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. You should see me running on cooler to cold days. I begin to layering on my insulated ski clothing, including gloves, face mask, ski jacket, and even hand warmers!

But to most, the colder shorter days really does mean less time staying fit. There’s less opportunities. Less time. Less activities. Less motivation. Many go from playing tennis, swimming, golf, hiking, and gardening to watching sports on TV, leisurely shopping at the malls, taxing children around, and cooking and baking for upcoming events. Soon comfort foods, oversnacking and increased alcohol from tailgates and holiday get togethers replaces the summer forgotten days of ample fresh fruits and vegetables and grilled meats plus lots of cold water to refresh and rehydrate from all the outdoor summer activities . All of this is a recipe for disaster to falling out of shape and putting on the pounds.

Yes, to many September draws a line between those who are serious about staying fit and those who are not. Often Labor Day is the last day of keeping fit. Many begin to hibernate and are less active, but there are still plenty of indoor activities one can participate in and away from the colder climate.

If you belong to the gym, you are presented with the most opportunities. You are able to weight lift, participate in aerobic, Pilates, yoga and spin classes, and perhaps swim in an indoor pool if you gym has one. There are also treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes for great cardio workouts and maybe the chance to play racquetball and squash if your gym has the courts.

No gym? No problem! You can follow along exercise DVDs at home, join an indoor tennis, basketball or volleyball league or sign up and take dance classes. You can also enroll in martial arts or find a rink nearby to go roller or ice skating. And if you are a walker and it’s too chilly to stroll outside, then you can grab a friend and head over to the nearest mall and take laps with a chat inside.

So staying fit over the colder months doesn’t have to be challenge. It may take a little more effort and creativity, but it is an effort that is worth its weight in gold – your health! So go have some fun inside and stay healthy until next summer!  You’ll avoid the common New Year’s resolution of having to get fit by summer and feel incredible about yourself year round.

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.