FALL IS A GREAT TIME TO GET ACTIVE!

Glacier National Park

It’s fall in Minnesota!  The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and we’re starting to prepare more comfort foods for hibernation. This is a great time to get active and get a routine before all of the holiday temptations come our way!

WHAT CONDITION ARE YOU IN RIGHT NOW?

People can find many workout ideas online or on television, but sometimes people forget whom those workouts are designed for.  Most of the time that advice is for someone who is already very fit.  So before you just follow what you see, make sure you are in appropriate shape.  If you haven’t had a physical in many years, it’s a good time for you to get one to make sure you have no health limitations.  If you are healthy but haven’t been active for a long time, start out slowly but surely so you aren’t overly sore and don’t get burned out.  If you have health or physical limitations, consider getting a trainer to determine the best plan for you.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

  • Do you want general good health?
  • Are you trying to lose weight?
  • Do you have a particular athletic goal?  (marathon, softball team, cycling event, etc.)

TRAINING FOR GOOD HEALTH

Recommendations for general good health are:

  •  30 minutes of cardiovascular training 5-6 days a week
  • 2-3 days with resistance training (not exercising the same muscle group 2 days in a row)
  • 1 day of rest

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

Here’s the thing about physical activity.  You will do it more often if it’s something you enjoy.  So think back to when you were a kid or whatever point in your life when you just had a lot of fun doing something physical.  Did you enjoy playing games with your friends?  Team sports?  Riding your bike?  Hiking and camping with your family?  Do you still do those things?  If not, do you want to do them again?

PARTICIPATE AS A FAMILY

If you’re a parent, do you get out and play with your children?  What an opportunity to bond with them and teach them a healthy lifestyle at the same time!

DON’T HAVE TIME?

Really?  Do you watch television?  Read books?  What are your leisure activities, and couldn’t you find a half hour in there somewhere?  A half hour is difficult to find?  How about 10 minutes?  Everyone has 10 minutes!  Start with 10 minutes a day 5-6 days a week for 2-3 weeks until it’s a habit.  Put it on your schedule if you need to.  Make it your priority so you can succeed!  Treat it as if it’s an appointment with a doctor and it doesn’t cost a cent. In fact you might be able to avoid a doctor appointment if you do it right!  Then after that’s a habit, add 5 minutes until you’re up to 30 minutes. Studies are showing that the 30 minutes do not have to be consecutive.  So if you have no limitations on your health, then how about 10 minutes of climbing the stairs at work or walk around the building?  You get the idea, now get creative!

OTHER ACTIVITIES COUNT!

Some activities we do – for example, yardwork and gardening, can be considered a “resistance” workout.  Think about it — if you’re pulling weeds for a few hours, how many times are you getting up and down? Are you in a squatting position? Are you using proper body mechanics? Which muscles are you working?  That counts!  Look at your whole day and how much activity you did.  Listen to your body. Do not overdo it and take the appropriate amount of rest for those activities as you would for a resistance training session. Been training consistently?  Isn’t it cool how you feel so much better doing those activities?  Less achiness, more stamina and quicker recovery!  And don’t forget to stretch after your activity to help reduce muscle stiffness/soreness.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

It’s all about understanding your body, its strengths and limitations and respecting those.  Listen to your body after everything you do. Are you experiencing bad pain (an injury) or workout pain afterward?  If it’s the bad pain, then take care of it right away.  Do not let it get worse.  The longer you wait to get it taken care of, the longer it will take to recover from the injury.

It’s very challenging to change the mindset of former athletes of all ages.  Many have been taught to give it their all and compete in spite of the pain of injuries.  Although that might be the way to go for competition, it’s not necessary to work out at that intensity for general good health results.  If you’re a former athlete, focus on where you are physically today and your current goals, and make decisions based on that.  I will chat more about intensity in future blogs.

OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY FALL!

Sunday, October 17, I’m leading an advanced hike through Afton State Park.  The route is very hilly and takes 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.  Email me at annieelmer@comcast.net if you’re interested in participating!

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so start moving your body toward good health! It’s never too late to start!

I have a MeetUp group for women:  http://www.meetup.com/Get-Out-Play/  Come join me for hikes or walks.  Just create a profile, join Get Out & Play and RSVP to any event you want to participate in!