When in doubt – work it out! This is my new motto for 2009.

We all have rough patches in our lives and it can be difficult to maintain sanity during these rough times, never mind maintaining your physical health.

Last month, I had to deal with the sudden death of my Dad and Step-Mom. By the end of the week of travelling and dealing, I was mentally exhausted; I was not eating up to my normal habits; I was missing my workouts and just feeling drained.

After sitting around for a day or two making excuses as to why I couldn’t exercise, eating anything that was quick and easy and feeling my body change (and not for the good), I decided that the only way I was going to get my energy back was to start exercising.

Thinking back to how great I usually feel made it easy to realize what was missing.

So, the next morning, I jumped back on the treadmill. “Nothing crazy,” I told myself. “Just get on and start moving.” So that’s exactly what I did. I did a walk, then an incline walk, a little jog and then a cool down.

Before I knew it, I had run 40 minutes, my headache was gone and I had more energy than numerous 12-hour sleep sessions had given me. And my new slogan for 2009 was born: “When in doubt — work it out!”

There have still been days when I have been upset, feeling down, feeling angry, grieving, but each time I get my body sweating even a little, I feel so much better.

I look back at all the times in my life that I have felt any negative emotion and, though it’s the last thing I feel like doing at the time, exercise has always been the only way to truly make me feel better.

During the dark, winter months, there is a point for each of us when the darkness and cold takes over our bodies and we wake up one day just not feeling quite right. Your partner may ask what’s wrong and you have no idea.

The holidays may be a time that makes you feel lonely as opposed to joyful. You look around and all the happy, bubbly people around you simply annoy you.

As January nears to the end, the last thing you want to do is jump out of bed in the darkness, shiver your way to the bathroom on the icy floors, get out of the heavenly warm shower to dress in layers of clothing — toques, mitts, scarves, winter coats, etc — and brave the elements just to go through another day of work.

This year, realize that this feeling may overcome you. So, get a jump start on your health in the new year and sign up for a program that you will enjoy. It could be ski lessons, boot camp class, curling club, yoga class, swim lessons … whatever appeals to you.

Commit yourself now for a program that will extend you through the dark days of winter and you’ll come through the other end a healthier, happier person.

Remember, if you need an extra boost to get you started, I’m just an e-mail away.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.pkfitness.yk.ca/Clients. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

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This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.