The holidays are over, and spring seems years away. While some push full steam ahead towards their 2013 health and fitness goals, maybe you are among the group who’s best laid plans are beginning to fade, and motivation has fizzled. Here are some ideas to freshen up your routine so you’re more likely to follow through on your path to optimal health:
Simply change up your routine once or twice a week. Your body will naturally accommodate the activities you demand of it, which in the case of weight loss or strength training is not beneficial. A fitness “plateau” occurs when the body has become used to a workout and doesn’t respond with the same level of results as it has in the past. To avoid this, try circuit training (alternate 1-2 min increments of cardiovascular exercise such as walking, biking, etc.. with 2-5 min. of strength training.) Alternatively, choose different activities for various days of the week. A cross-training approach is not only beneficial for athletes, but it decreases the likelihood of injury and keeps workouts interesting.
Try a new activity, especially if you belong to a gym that includes classes as part of your membership. Yoga, Pilates, or dance-based classes are great ways to fine-tune core strength. You might also enjoy them!
Play outside with your family. Even sledding and making snow angels can provide some cardiovascular benefit! Exercise tends to be “muscle-specific,” so every activity uses a certain combination of muscles. A new type of exercise forces you to concentrate more, and offers the body a new challenge.
If you feel tired one day, don’t push yourself. Honor your body’s signals and stick to walking or light stretching. If the feeling continues, it’s worth a discussion with your doctor, but an occasional “off” day is normal, and may indicate a need for rest.
Stretch before and after physical activity. This helps to reduce the risk of injury, but you may also find you’ll get more out of your workout. Here is a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfXrYhg10tE demonstrating “active” stretching, which is a great way to warm up before any physical activity. Active or dynamic stretches increase blood flow and prepare muscles for exercise. Passive or static stretches are usually better for “warm” muscles, or after a workout.
Regardless of your level of activity, it can be challenging to keep your workout fresh and interesting. Keeping yourself surrounded with like-minded friends will keep you mentally engaged, and help you discover new exercises. We'd love to hear your suggestions, and swap ideas!
Yours In Health,
Drs. Nick & Delphine Deignan
3143 Western Row Rd.
Mason, OH 45039