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Community Health Education Center to host Walk with a Doc: Prostate Cancer on Thursday

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Fall back into your fitness routine

We have just passed the Labor Day weekend, a sure sign that summer has officially ended.

How did you spend your weekend? If you are like most Americans, you traveled, picnicked and partied the weekend away. I spent mine on a four-day hiatus from the gym that included motorcycle riding, seafood eating, sunbathing, and adult beverage consumption while cheering on my Fighting Irish to victory. Oh yeah and there was the coconut cake down in Southport!

This is a far cry from the wellness stuff I keep preaching isn’t it? But so what? Even a so-called “expert” like me needs to throw down once in a while.

Summer is the time for having fun, kicking back and even relaxing just a little bit on your fitness routine. It is OK to take a break. However, now that summer has officially ended, it is time to trade Red Hots for tofu dogs, soda for green tea and get back into the gym.

Fall is the perfect time to “fall” back into good exercise and diet habits. Gone are the excuses of the kids being at home, the weather too hot and not being able to find a time or place to exercise while traveling. This is the time to kick your routine into high gear to get ready for the next excuse-filled season, the holidays. You have just about three months to detox and work hard so you can afford an extra piece of pumpkin pie or a slice of fruitcake. Contrary to popular belief, even I don’t exercise solely for the fun of it. I exercise so I can indulge myself on occasion. Most of us exercise junkies work out because we need to. No matter what your motivation, however, here are some helpful hints to start your fall off right.

— Inspect your footwear: Exercise and fitness shoes have a shelf life. If your feet are not comfortable or become injured, they can cause all kinds of problems for your knees, hips and back. Your running or walking shoes should be replaced every 300 or so miles.

— Restart or get a gym membership: If you have canceled for the summer or have never had a fitness center membership, fall is the perfect time to get one. Most centers offer specials in the fall. When choosing a gym, make sure it is convenient to your home or work, offers the amenities you would like, and has qualified staff.

— Get on a new program: Just like Funions at the beach, workout routines can grow stale. Don’t just go back to the same old same old. Try a new piece of equipment, a new activity or a different weight-training routine.

— Hire a personal trainer: Totally lost your motivation over the summer? The best way to get it back is to hire a personal trainer. Personal trainers will develop and supervise a routine made for you and your goals. Many fitness centers employ personal trainers, just be sure to check out their background and credentials before signing up.

— Find a buddy: If you had a workout partner who has disappeared during the summer, it is time to get them back. Call them to set up a time to start back and get each other motivated again. If you have always been a solo artist then think about trying exercise with a friend. The advantage of a workout partner is that if there is someone else counting on you to be there, you will be more likely to show up.

— Clean up your diet: Fall is a great time to clean out the house of junk foods. In the summer when kids are home, we naturally keep more kid-friendly snacks in the house. The next time you go to the store, take your time when picking out healthier snack items for both you and your family. If you need help on what to choose, find a dietitian and have a consult. They can help get you started on the right track with your eating.

— Train for a special event or race: Need something to look forward to? Find a race or other type of fitness event and start training. Go online and see what is available locally, sign up and get yourself geared up to compete.

Summers will come and go and so will your motivation to eat right and exercise. Even if you take a little break, it is OK just so long as you make sure to return to the good habits you keep most of the year. This fall, use the change of the season to make changes in your diet and exercise routine.

You will feel better and gain the energy you need come November and December.

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