This time of year, even devoted exercisers start to notice winter’s effect on their bodies. Telltale signs of being snowed in, skipping one too many warm-ups, and missing that extra day at the Center are appearing. Buttons aren’t quite reaching their holes, your neck can’t seem to loosen that kink, and your energy is still hibernating from the long, harsh winter.
Fast-forward. Visualize yourself enjoying favorite activities in summery locales. You’re playing ball, chasing your children around the park, or styling in a new summer bikini. Here are some suggestions for pedaling your way out of winter workout ruts. Make those summer daydreams a reality with these quick tips.
- Keep a fitness journal. Keep track of the exercises included in your routine. Note their success rate. Capitalize on those that are working; ditch those that are not. Part of a personal trainer’s responsibility is to assist clients in customizing just such a routine and tracking its success.
- Focus on form. A badly performed exercise can be worse than doing nothing. You may minimize results and maximize your chance for injury. Ask a personal trainer to check your form.
- Exercise in brief, intense spurts. Alternate your cardio routine between strength training. This revs up your workout, burns more calories, and is easier on your heart. According to fitness experts, high-intensity workouts broken into two sessions are twice as effective as one low-intensity extended workout. Lift weights and follow up with a Group Fitness class for a winning combination.
- Alternate focus between upper and lower body. Rotating exercises during each session allows the muscles to work at their peak, rest, and work again. This simultaneously amps up your heart rate and your sculpting power.
- Give it a rest. Have a series of routines from which to choose. Don’t work the same muscle groups with the same method every day. At the Center, there is a different option for every visit. In that fitness journal, list which days you’ll tackle the Exercise Floor, perform a water workout in the pool, and take a class. There are enough Group Fitness offerings to enjoy—and benefit from– a different class every day!
- Start your day with exercise. Night owl? It doesn’t matter if that start is at 5am or 10am. The idea is to hit the Center before beginning your day, whatever time that may be. A day’s worth of distractions and fatigue won’t be a convenient excuse to miss your workout. Plus, research shows jump-starting with exercise helps you focus throughout the day.
- Avoid poor posture. Lungs can’t breathe deeply if posture is bad. This prevents muscles from getting the oxygen needed for optimum performance. Don’t get so caught up in your favorite TV show or e-book while on the treadmill that you lose your focus on the real task at hand (or foot).
- Socialize. At the Center, you are surrounded by others who have made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Being part of an active wellness community is encouraging and inspiring.
Motivation, consistency, and exercise variation are essential to fitness success. Typically, expect to see measurable results within six to eight weeks. And, we all know how quickly time passes. Just ask those parents with their arms outstretched, running behind a two-wheeler. Prior to that, notice little improvements to help propel you forward. Increased energy, a faster run time, stairs without getting winded. Results beget results.
“How Smart Are You about Working Out?” at http://quiz.fitnessmagazine.com.
“Maximize Your Workout,” at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
“42 One-Minute Better Body Tricks,” Jennifer Matarrazo, at www.fitnessmagazine.com.