By Michelle McMahon who is a Certified Health & Wellness Specialist, Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. If you are wanting to get physically fit, live a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress, learn about nutrition and enjoy life, then you will love her sessions. She will not only help in mind and body awareness but she will empower you to go out in the day and feel great about yourself and others. Let her be your cheerleader and you will win the game of life!
Brisk physical activity, like walking, is a wonderful way to get your body moving and to build strength and endurance.
That said, if you have been doing the same exercise activities over and over again without “changing it up”, it can begin to feel routine and even boring. Not only does your psyche get bored, but your body as well. Your body goes into “stasis”, that steady state where you are neither emotionally or physically stimulated by the activities you choose. You can find yourself becoming less motivated to go for those walks if it is the same route, routine or pace. Your body becomes acclimated to the monotony of your movements, and you find yourself arriving at a physical plateau with no motivation to find higher ground.
Our bodies are very intelligent tools instinctually designed to conserve energy. The profound adaptability of our bodies to normalize routine movements over time, however dynamic they may seem in the moment, creates physical stasis and muscle memory. It cannot be overstated, the quest for fitness improvement and a better physique requires you to vary your workout regimen.
Here are some friendly tips that can remove “the grind” of physical activity, and can keep it fresh and new.
• Change the area in which you walk. Drive to a different neighborhood, one that includes new scenery and hills.
• Walking with purpose. No noodle arms, but walking with drive. A ninety degree bend in the arms, almost like a military march, aware to keeping your hips and glutes engaged will automatically tighten the core and increase your speed.
• If you are looking for even more, adding light (1-2 pound) hand weights will also give your upper body some added resistance making it more of a full body exercise. Adding weights you can also begin to do lateral raises or bicep curls while strolling throughout the community.
• Adding a walking buddy can also make the experience more enjoyable. Instead of meeting for coffee or lunch, meet at the arboretum and go for a walk instead. Also, adding accountability!
There are many things you can do to keep your new found love of physical activity a daily part of your life. You can sign up for a 5k, have a friendly competition with someone to see who can take the most steps in a day by comparing fit bit results, adding upbeat and motivating music to your ipod (if you haven’t tried the Spotify app I highly recommend it, you can create your own playlists so the music you listen to never gets stale).
Aerobic fitness by definition refers to your ability to transport and utilize oxygen. Your heart is a muscle and the more active you become; the more your heart has to work to increase blood flow throughout the body, similar to lifting weights and building muscle in your arms and legs. As your heart gets stronger, you will become less out of breath and be able to push a harder and longer than in the past. This is why it is important to incorporate activities that are F.I.T.T.
• Frequency (how often)
o Levels go down after 48 hours of inactivity
• Intensity (how hard)
o You should be able to talk, but not sing!
• Time (how long)
o 10 minutes or more, slowly increasing time
• Type (activity)
o Aerobic activities that challenge your heart using large muscle groups such as jogging, swimming or biking.
As a personal trainer and fitness instructor at Takedown Gym, I often feel like I have the best job in the world. No stranger to the feeling of boredom which comes from taking the same class over and over again I get to play with so many different toys (we have so many different tools/equipment to engage our clients!) that I never teach the same class twice.
People often ask, “What are we doing in class tomorrow?” and I often reply with a smile and say “I’m not sure yet!” I wait for the inspiration to come, often having new moves from researching the internet. Clients have caught on that if I clasp my hands together and say “Oh! I have something new for us today,” it is a sign of the fun to be had in the next few minutes. As an instructor if I’m not motivated myself, how can I inspire others to be?
Other times people sign up for class and come in saying “I almost didn’t make it today,” either because of their hectic schedule or not being motivated to exercise. However, I have NEVER heard anyone say after a workout that they weren’t glad they made that step to come. Now, they are leaving knowing they did something good for themselves, making their bodies stronger, making new friends and building rapport with other participants and let’s not forget those happy endorphins that are released when you elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles!
Write down some ways in which you can change up your routine. If you have been active for a while, your confidence is building. Take that new confidence and try something new! This is your life and no one will take the next step for you.
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t. YOU’RE right.” Henry Ford.