by Corena Hughes
It's been a long wintry season of inactivity for some of us but ideas of returning to fitness are beginning to enter our daily thoughts. When spring arrives we feel a sense of dusting ourselves off and tuning our bodies up. Where and how to begin are sometimes stumbling blocks that prolong our hibernation. The following guidelines are suggested to help turn-off that re-run of The West Wing or Will and Grace and get out and get active.
#1-Don't do too much too soon or too fast No matter what your age the most susceptible time for injury is in the first month of starting a new form of exercise. Take it easy. Be sure to take rest days regularly and allow for time to stretch those newly taxed muscles directly following the exercise . Gradually increase your level of exertion remembering to exercise through annoyance but not through pain. Some days it will feel good, some days it will feel awful, listen to your body and don't try to do it all in the first month.
#2-Choose a goal and stick to it Everyone has different interests when it comes to fitness and exercise. Yours might be running a 10 km race in September, hiking in the Cape Breton Highlands during your summer vacation or cycling PEI's Confederation Trail. If gardening is your interest perhaps expanding your yard planting more varieties. If learning a new activity is your goal try one that has intrigued you in the past. Whether it be a goal of distance or personal conquering, pick something that you have to work towards and commit to it. Write your goal down and read it over from time to time. Enjoy the smaller triumphs you'll achieve along the path to your big goal like increased energy and strength, improved confidence, and the knowledge that you're getting closer to the actual goal. Realizing your goal will be full of rewards but the road to achieving it will be just as satisfying.
#3-Be consistent This rule is probably the most challenging. Being compliant with fitness takes planning and strategy. Some people keep a log, others have an exercise partner, others pick a certain time of day that they always set aside for fitness. Try to have positive thoughts that you can focus on while you're preparing for your bout of exercise ie. how great you will feel when you have finished. Don't fall into the habit of being a weekend warrior. Now that you have decided to spring into action don't wait for the perfect weather each day. Don't allow the changing weather patterns to determine what you will do on what days. Just dress for the weather and get out and enjoy it.
Getting back into fitness now that the hibernation is over will be fun. Apply some of these simple guidelines and think positively.
Corena Hughes is a Certified Personal Trainer and Physiotherapist at Cornwall Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation.