Starting Anew in Spring
Ahh, sunshine, blue skies and blessed warmth. Tulips, robins and breezy dress-wearing collegians bear witness to the arrival of springtime. We finally peel off our jeans and sweaters, replacing them with shorts, tank tops, and skirts. But then the truth is revealed, often harshly. We come face to face with the fact that we ignored our body in the winter while its layers were hidden under outer layers of fleece and down. New Year’s resolutions have long since been forgotten and winter habits have taken their toll. Fortunately, spring is still a great time to begin a new exercise program. But rather than dive right into a workout, hitting it hard, injuring yourself in the process, losing momentum and giving up altogether, aim for a softer, gentler approach and start your new workout armed with a few tools.
When starting a new exercise regime, it is important to have a specific goal. Do you want to lose weight? Are you training for an event? Are you looking to bulk up? A unique strategy is required for each goal. Decreasing weight or body fat often requires increased cardiovascular activity. Toning, strengthening and building muscle require using different sizes of weights and differing amounts of repetitions/rest periods, depending on your desired outcome. Maybe you’d rather have a body weight workout? Once again, a different strategy would be required. Decide on your initial goal and design your program accordingly.
Easy Does It
Typically, when the workout bug bites, one often jumps headfirst into a new program, eager to see results NOW. An incredible amount of activity is crammed into a single day, resulting in muscle soreness, or even pulled muscles or major injuries. Exercise is then, sadly, tossed aside as “dangerous” and “not for me.” Ease into a new program slowly, allowing the body to acclimatize to the new movements. Results will come faster and more safely.
Make Time for Yourself
Schedule your workouts just as you would schedule any other appointment in your life. And then stick to that time. You wouldn’t skip your dentist appointment or that play your child is performing in—why is your health any less important? Set aside an hour each day for yourself—you’re worth it.
Working out with a friend or partner increases your chances of sticking to a program. You have a greater sense of accountability and motivation in working out with another person. And a little friendly competition, and even better—encouragement—goes a long way in helping increase motivation. Sometimes misery does love company.
Do What You Like
Choose an activities that are actually enjoyable. There is no sense in deciding to start a running program to lose weight if you despise running. You won’t stick with it—plain and simple. Find activities that you enjoy, and then you will find an hour has passed without you realizing it because, surprise, surprise—you were actually having fun. Fitness does not have to be torturous, unless that’s what you prefer.
A common misconception is that a great deal of equipment is required to work out. A total body workout can be performed using only the body’s resistance. Add a ball and a few weights to add increased intensity to your workout. A little can go a long way as far as equipment is concerned. Not having equipment is NEVER an excuse to not workout. Think of dancers, gymnasts, martial artists and yogis using only their bodies to become incredibly strong.
Arm yourself with these tips and get creative in designing a workout that is fun and easy to stick to. Aim for achievable, realistic goals and enjoy the journey to a better body. But most importantly, have fun along the way.