by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
The world is coming to life around us. However, some of us are sluggish to emerge from our winter cocoon. Or, we simply do not know where to begin …
Life’s pace accelerates with the launch of spring. Social events get booked. Yards need maintenance. Work continues to pile, but now must compete against sunny skies for our attention. We still may have sniffles or extra pounds lingering from winter.
It’s time to energize. Charge ahead with these expert tips to increase your fitness level—and your stamina. (And maybe you’ll finally kick that cold, too!)
For those who are new to exercise, or spent the winter buried under a blanket with remote control in hand, Fitness Manager Ashley suggests a slow start.
Gradually increasing physical activity helps regain stamina. It also provides the mental prep needed to develop healthy fitness habits. Listen to what your body tells you as you add movement to your days. Pace yourself to avoid a regression back to the couch. Your goal is not to exhaust muscles and increase fatigue. Instead, focus on energizing your functionality.
Ashley suggest functional training. It increases strength and stamina while preparing the body for spring and summer tasks. You don’t need to be an athlete to train like one. Perhaps gardening is your game. Maybe a daily commute, with sprints to your transportation connections, is your marathon. From puttering around your shed to swinging a golf club, body-weight training can prepare you.
“Start with easier exercises. Increase repetitions before adding additional weight or advanced movements,” advises Ashley. She recommends using exercise bands and other equipment to enhance the resistance of your own body weight.
Initially, fitness goals should include becoming more comfortable in your body. Fluid, strong movement, done with proper form, helps prevent injuries and exhaustion beyond your workout. Tasks take less effort, whether on the playground with your children or playing tennis or a game of hoops. And, imagine a day of yardwork without a night of aches and ibuprofen.
For year-round exercisers, the post-winter shift does not signify a need to quickly get back in shape. Focus on high-intensity interval training (HITT). This can be as simple as adding bursts of intense circuits to your already established routine. If you’re due for a change, opt to create an entire circuit-training program.
“These HITT workouts effectively advance your fitness program without increasing risk of injury,” notes Ashley. Before muscles can tire and movements grow sloppy, the intense circuit is replaced with an easier interval. “It’s a great way to quickly advance your fitness goals in a shorter amount of time,” Ashley adds. Give it a try! Replace your 30-minute walk or treadmill run with a shorter workout that includes resistance training surrounded by intense cardio bursts.
Whether you are a novice or avid exerciser, experiment with a variety of workouts to discover what you enjoy most. Set goals. Clearly define the steps needed to reach them. The best workout is the one you continue to do.
The change in seasons can act as a reminder to switch up your fitness routine. Try a new Group Fitness class. Experiment with new equipment on the Fitness Floor. Take advantage of the Center’s free demos. Bring your land program to the pool.
Liven Up Life
If you still feel the effects of one missed winter workout too many, something new may jump start your energy. Besides a new workout, don’t forget to grow in other ways. Life sometimes hits a plateau from routines and fatigue.
Challenge your mind as well as your body. Continue to be proactive in your well-being. Meet new friends. Introduce new foods to your diet and unique destinations to your travels (even in just a neighboring town). Learn something new.
It’s never too late to become a musician, a gardener, or an avid exerciser.
Buried in blanket: pixabay.com/en/chihuahua-dog-blanket-cold-winter-633962
Resistance training: pixabay.com/en/fitness-female-model-strength-956647
Painting man: pixabay.com/en/painter-painting-brush-draw-man-4165