How Jacqui Felgate makes time to exercise

The struggle to get out of bed for a morning workout is real, writes Jacqui Felgate. Here’s how The House of Wellness TV co-host finds the motivation to exercise.

The change of seasons is always a melancholy time of year for me.

We’ve  kissed goodbye another Aussie summer – along with beach days, warm nights, barbecues, and daylight until after 9pm (at least in the southern states).

It might be controversial, but I love daylight saving.

Staying fit in summer is easy

I’m also an early riser and a runner.

I can think of few better ways to start the day than to get up at 5.30am and exercise as the sun comes up.

Do you, like me, just feel better in summer?

Exercise is always at the top of my summer to-do list, and I enjoy exercising more at this time of year.

Whether it’s walking the dog, long-distance running, taking the kids to the park or to the beach for a swim, the Aussie summer equals the outdoors – and to me that means fitness.

It also means grilled meat and seafood on the barbecue, and a lot of salads.

It’s a healthier, happier time of year for me and my family.

Why autumn brings a sense of foreboding

Autumn is beautiful – don’t get me wrong.

Still, clear days, bracing mornings and, of course, golden autumn leaves.

But it also means the end of daylight saving and shorter, darker days.

I get that foreboding feeling that, yes, winter is coming.

I drag myself out of bed and back to the gym; the heater is on again in the car; and when I run outside, the tips of my fingers go numb.

There’s an old saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

I’m not sure I agree with that. There’s definitely less motivation to get out of bed, that’s for sure!

Getting motivated in winter is tough

Exercise is key to my mental health and wellbeing, and it may be a reason why I just feel flatter in winter.

The CSIRO says after just 10 minutes of exercise, the brain releases the feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help reduce depression and anxiety.

And we all need more feel-good vibes in winter!

The CSIRO also has some good tips for getting motivated, and one I really agree with: the “train for an event” tip.

In my mid-30s, I used to do this every year.  I ran a series of half marathons in Melbourne each year – five throughout the winter season.

Rain, hail or shine, I’d pound the pavement.

I remember one year it hailed in my face and I was running along thinking, “Why have I signed up to this?”.

But I did feel better in general.

How I’ll keep running this year

Entering my 40s it’s been harder to get back into running – simply because it takes time.

Young kids sleep a lot and are less active – but tweens? Don’t even get me started!

My life revolves around my kids, and the only way I can manage exercise now is to get up at 5am and head to the gym before they wake up.

In the cooler months, snuggling under the doona is just a far more appealing proposition.

But this autumn I’ve set my goal to get back into running.

I started in summer and am now back running around 10km a couple of times a week and really enjoying it.

Finding that extra hour in the day may mean running at night or very early in the morning, in your lunch break or at some other crazy time.

But as the days get shorter and the nights are longer, I’ll be back out there this year.

Now, pass me my mittens.

More on staying fit at any time of day or during the year:

Written by Jacqui Felgate