You may have strayed from your New Year’s resolution to get into shape. Often, winter months are less active than the rest of the year. Aside from your faithful trips to the Center and occasional snow shoveling, your physical activity may have been limited. Some may have fallen off the fitness wagon, the computer keyboard being their only exercise equipment. Unfortunately, fingers jumping the keys to connect on facebook or check out the latest YouTube videos won’t do much for your cardio health.
Now, is a great time to get back on your path to wellness. Create or reevaluate fitness goals. Change up old routines or start new ones. Speak with a personal trainer who can guide you in creating an appropriate program based on your needs and goals. If you’re starting back after winter hibernation, consider purchasing some personal training sessions to keep you focused, committed, and within your physical capacity. You want to be challenged but not to the point of frustration or injury.
Tips for Start-Ups or Restart-Ups
- Determine the cause of your exercise hiatus. Boredom, injury, sickness, travel, extra work hours, and such. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid them, or plan around them, in the future.
- Go easy on yourself. No one is perfect. Even the most fitness savvy can get off the exercise track. Wallowing in guilt can be counter-productive, and is one of a procrastinator’s best companions.
- Join a Group Fitness class or connect with an exercise buddy. Trying something new is exciting and motivating. Sharing it with a friend can help you get out the door when the phone/kids/work/couch is calling (okay, shouting).
- Increase flexibility and core strength. This helps prevent injuries from using muscles that have grown tight and stiff throughout the cold months. Consider yoga and Pilates classes to warm up those winter-frozen muscles. Exercise balls can provide great assistance when stretching.
Tips for the Diehards (there’s always room for improvement)
- Change your exercise program, right now. Renew your zest for fitness with a fresh workout routine. Experiment with the large variety of exercise equipment the Center offers. Don’t be shy. Ask a personal trainer for advice on how to best utilize each machine. Even experts need to continue their education in the rapidly evolving fitness world.
- Get out of your element. Although your comfort zone may be a nice, friendly Group Fitness class, challenge yourself with a visit to the Exercise Floor. If weights and exercise equipment have been your standard, see what the fitness class excitement is all about. And, everyone can benefit from an invigorating, effective water workout!
- Try visiting the Center at a new time or day. The different faces you see and connections you make, combined with shifts in your own biological clock, may be the motivational change your body craves.
- The fitness instructors and personal trainers are happy to share ideas on how to challenge yourself without a complete program makeover. Sometimes a simple switch of tempo or positioning is all you need.
Focus on Warm-Weather Fitness
Make sure your routine prepares you for upcoming activities. Whether your seasonal agenda includes yard work, swimming, marathons, or joining a community athletic team, the exercises you do now should work you appropriately. A targeted, goal-oriented workout can have amazing affects on your functionality and performance.
Make a Clean Sweep
Consider replacing old toiletries littering the bottom of your gear bag. Put essentials in a separate bag to keep them dry and easily accessible during your post-workout shower. Stock up on power bars to carry you to the next meal. Healthful snacks throughout the day deliver consistent energy, especially after a calorie-burning stint at the Center.
Treat yourself to a piece of new exercise gear. Retire worn-out sneakers. Replace sweatshirts and pants with tanks and shorts. A new headband or pair of socks can boost your attitude, if new exercise clothes aren’t in the budget. If possible, splurge for a portable music player like an iPod. (For tips, see article, “Getting MP3 Players to Workout: Exercising with Your Music” published at http://fitnessandwellnessnews.com/?p=1067 on 3/26/10.)
Remain forward-thinking. Focus on your goals and revisit them as you progress. Reward yourself, perhaps with a monthly massage or spa service. A little treat, like a new exercise song for your iPod, can go a long way. Evaluate what is working and where you can improve. Don’t dwell on past stumbles encountered along the road to fitness. Take it one step at a time. The journey will turn into miles.
The attic has a way of shrinking those summer wardrobes. If all else fails, there’s some motivation!
Spring flowers: www.flickr.com/photos/rojer/128304776