Winter is winding down and with all the holiday eating and traveling, your exercise routine or plans may have taken a back seat. Perhaps you got the winter “blahs,” got sick with COVID, or suffered an injury that sidelined you. Whatever the reasons for the winter break, springtime is an ideal time to restart (or start) your fitness journey.
- Identify your “WHY”
Not everyone has the same goal. Getting in shape means more than losing weight or acquiring abs. Maybe you want more energy or to feel better about yourself. You might need and want to improve health markers like blood pressure, sugar and/or cholesterol. If your resolutions have faltered, ask yourself why. Were the goals unrealistic? Did you give yourself enough time? Did you have schedule conflicts? Life happens and that’s okay. Set realistic expectations, keep reminding yourself WHY you set these goals, and be willing to do the work. Understand that lasting change takes some time. If you fall back one week, get back in the game. Plan ahead, eliminate common excuses, keep your eye on the prize, and take action!
- Start Small and Go Slow
Start with an easy walking schedule. For example: 10 minutes a day or every other day. Increase by 5 minutes each week until you’re up to 30-45 minutes each session. You can even break it up throughout the day if you can’t do it all at once. This will prepare the body for more intense exercise or sports. If you are lifting, start very light and make sure to increase the weight by 2.5 or 5 pounds every week to progressively get stronger over time. If you are unfamiliar with how to start or what equipment to use, make sure to ask a trainer for a free assessment and equipment introduction! Try different equipment!
- Low impact Activities
Swimming, Water Aerobics, Cycling, Light Strength Conditioning or Osteo classes, Pilates and Yoga can be easier on the joints. Look up group fitness classes at The Connection (all schedules are online). Spring clean your routine and try a new type of workout, class or instructor every week for a month. Adding variety will keep the mind and body engaged and motivated. You might learn something new that you never knew you needed (or loved)!
- Stretch it out and Warm Up
Always incorporate gentle movements that mimic the exercise, and do some dynamic stretching before any activity or sport to loosen up the muscles and get blood flowing where you need it most. Are you running on the treadmill? Walk first with some moderate intervals. Are you lifting weights? Move the joints you’ll be using, especially the back, shoulders and hips. Gentle movements to mimic the harder ones to come will help keep you safe. For soccer, try some leg kicks and high knees. For golf, stretch out your trunk and lower back by bending side to side and twisting left to right. Holding a stretch for longer durations should be reserved for post workouts and activities because that’s when your muscles are warmed up.
- Sign up for an event or set a new personal record you want to accomplish.
Sometimes we need a little motivation and it can be fun to work out when you have something to work towards. It can even boost morale if you get friends in groups that are joining the same event. Consider personal or small group training sessions to ramp up your routine and jump start your next step. Or you can sign up for a local 5k race. Once you know what the end goal is, you can formulate the workout plan on how to get there. Fall in love with the process/journey.
- Always feel free to talk to one of our caring and knowledgeable Certified Personal Trainers or Group Fitness Instructors. They can help you get your journey started, and keep you accountable and motivated!
Submitted by: Fitness Center Asst. Director, Danny Osias, ACE Certified Personal Trainer