This is the fourth post in a series on stepping into a healthier fall. Turning life upside down may result in short-term and short-lived gains, but baby steps, well executed, go a long way towards making you a happier, healthier person.

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Many of you may have a goal of getting into shape, or at least maintaining the shape you have worked so hard to attain over the summer. However, as Fall approaches, the temperatures drop and the days shorten, making it much more challenging to get outside, soak up the sunshine, and sweat. Coupled with that bathing suit that is (thankfully) hidden in the bottom of the sock drawer until next spring, you have all kinds of excuses to avoid exercise.

This is precisely why it’s an opportune time to challenge yourself to adopt some healthy habits to last through the winter.

As a first step towards getting – or staying – in shape, excuses will have to vanish from your vocabulary. For the next month, avoid them altogether and see if you can tell the difference the next time you step onto the scales!

Here are a few rebuttals to some common excuses:

I don’t have the time. This excuse is common regardless of the season. At the end of the day, however, don’t you make time for the things in life you really want to do? Now is an ideal time to make time for the very activities you might like to avoid.

Plan  ahead. Schedule it. Write it down or type it into your new iPhone 5. If you make exercise a part of your day, even before the day arrives, you’ll be much more likely to do it.

And speaking of time, if all you have is 20-30 minutes, don’t write it off as inadequate. Seize the moment and do what you can. A walk around the block or a few yoga stretches is better than no exercise at all.

I get bored at the gym. Guess what? So do I! That’s why mixing it up can be just what you need.

Not only are there are a variety of activities you can try at the gym – from Pilates to kickboxing to Zumba – you can try CrossFit, boot camp or tennis. The opportunities are limitless if you’re willing to give something new a try.

It’s too cold. You shouldn’t be relegated to exercising indoors just because the temperature drops a few degrees. You can run, bike, hike or walk in colder weather by adding some layers, a hat and a pair of gloves. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will warm up; and in addition, breathing some fresh air and soaking up some sunshine can do the body wonders!

Extra layers aren’t for me. If I didn’t sell you on the previous point, relax your usual cardio routine and take advantage of the opportunity to build some bulk. I always dedicate more time on strength-building exercises and less to cardiovascular activities in the colder months. Not only do I not gain weight; I like how the flab firms up!

I’m too tired. If you are run-down and about to get sick, I’ll let you slide on this one. You know your own body better than anyone else.

However, if you’re really just sneaking in the word “tired” as an excuse to avoid the inevitable, then listen close. Exercise may be just what you need to get the energy you desperately wish you had. I know it works for me! Between the body moving, the blood stirring and the endorphins flowing, you’ll feel better than you have all day – all thanks to some exercise!

Other “Step into a Healthy Fall” Challenges:

Take baby steps (based on your big behemoth goal)

Skip the Chips

Remove Stress

Go Meatless on Monday

Image courtesy of One Pinky

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