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Stay Motivated During the Colder Months

A local running route to cut down on holiday stress and weight gain this year.

Yes, it's cold. I know you're busy. And it's easy to hide under your heavy winter clothes, but staying fit and healthy is not a seasonal job.

I know exercising outside right now might not be as appealing as staying in, wrapped in a warm blanket, watching Home Alone yet again while snacking on Mallomars, but your body will thank you for choosing to be a road warrior instead of a couch potato.

Working out is even more important this time of the year. Regular exercise boosts your immune system and helps ward off colds, which are more common during this time, according to studies. Studies also show that heart-related deaths increase 5 percent during the winter months, and it's even worse during the holidays. You could the blame spike in cardiac deaths on the spiked drinks, the fatty foods, the stress caused by shopping (or some relatives) and the distinct drop in exercise as people shun their sneakers for their slippers.

So you don't become a statistic and you can stay healthy and be at your best all year long, I encourage you to join me on the streets of Malverne and West Hempstead for some heart-pumping cardio. Here's a route that I like to run. You can run it, walk it, do a run-walk combo, or even cycle this course. Just don't forget to bundle up and keep in mind that it gets darker earlier this time of year, so you'll want to wear reflective gear if you're hitting the pavement after the sun goes down or before it even rises in the morning.

Check this column each week for a new running route to try in Malverne and West  Hempstead. Want to suggest one of your own? E-mail Tara.Conry@Patch.com.

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