by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Fall is for fitness and wellness. Get serious after the more casual summer schedule. Use these 10 tips to get yourself back on track …
Admit it. Maybe your Center visits dwindled to three instead of six. It happens. Summertime calls and we answer, agreeing to myriad commitments that may usurp our efforts at fitness and wellness. The extra time outdoors felt great, and hopefully, you enjoyed a sprinkling of lazy days. Use the approach of fall to renew your commitment to fitness and wellness.
Plan of Action
- Set Goals. Decide what area you need to work most: cardio, strength, or flexibility. Did you enjoy too many cookouts? Too many days poolside deplete your stamina?
- Schedule your personal training and nurse assessment. Review your fitness goals and create a workout program. Get a baseline to monitor your health and skill level. Nothing is more motivating than seeing solid progress reported on paper.
Record steps taken toward goals. Highlight times you’ve gone the extra mile (both literally and figuratively). A log works as a reminder of progress on those challenging days when you’d rather nap than exercise. It also helps you remain accountable, realistically reflecting what you consider your commitment to exercise.
- Follow health trends. Keeping up with the latest news in fitness, nutrition, and healthy living is excellent motivation. You may not be a runner, but an article on marathons may spark your treadmill experience. A roast chicken may be in your oven, but a recipe for a meatless meal may inspire you to use veggies as the main course tomorrow.
- Try something new. Kick off a new season with a fresh workout program. Experiment with different exercise equipment, attend a nutrition seminar, try a variety of Group Fitness classes. If you always work out on land, take time for an aquatic class or a weekly swim. The novelty will keep you engaged as you transition back after summer vacations and comforts. Variety also works multiple muscle groups , which helps avoid overexertion. By fall’s busiest days, you will be comfortable enough with these novelty workouts to use them as stress-relievers.
Have a friend join you. Perhaps you and a colleague tag-teamed hours this summer. A stay-at-home parent may have just sent the kids back to school. Grab these potential workout buddies before they get caught up in a fall routine. A friend provides additional support, beyond a personal trainer or Group Fitness classmates. Workout time becomes extra fun with a pal, and helps you evolve your friendship.
- Don’t overdo it. Get back into action slowly. Save high-intensity workouts for next month. Tone up from any setbacks with a light workout for the first week. Gradually increase intensity as you feel strength and stamina return. Doing too much, too quickly (even your old workout from June) can lead to injury. You don’t want to be laid up and have to start over (again!) during the holiday season.
Focus on form. If you became unconditioned over the summer months, be extra careful of your form. Fatigue may come quicker during your routine, resulting in poor execution of reps. Moderate exercises to accommodate your current fitness level. Better to do less, decrease the pace, or reduce resistance than keep up with poor form.
- Consider training for an event. Members often enjoy teaming up as they train for local running and walking events. We develop a camaraderie through the common goal. And, this goal propels us to take our workout to the next level. There’s nothing like the deadline of a marathon to keep you on track. For ideas, consult a fall marathon listing: http://running.about.com/od/marathonsandreviews/tp/fallmarathons.htm
Reward yourself along the way. Nurture your physical and emotional well-being for work well done. It may not be easy to replace the pool raft with the Pilates reformer, but your continued commitment–with actions to prove it– can be just as refreshing.
Fitness journal: www.flickr.com/photos/thenext28days/9264642405/
Book reader: www.flickr.com/photos/span112/5317789870