GO SLOW. Start off easy, especially if coming off injury or a period of decreased activity. Some tricks I often use to get myself out the door: I tell myself I will do my activity for seven of my favorite songs or roughly 30 minutes. Once I get going, t’s easy for me to go a little longer or a little harder than I'd planned. Then I'll tell myself that during each chorus of a song I am going to increase my intensity. This makes for great interval training while revving along to my favorite beats.
BE SAFE! If doing a new activity, do it with someone whom is familiar with the sport whether that is a family member, friend or an instructor. They will give you good tips on form, equipment, injury prevention etc. If you're doing an activity that you're familiar with, find someone to join you. Having a partner makes for more fun and accountability, too!
COMMIT. Plan your workouts into your calendar. Look ahead at your personal and/or family schedule and find ideal windows for activity. Parents of athletes can take advantage of the time when kids are at their sports practices. Make use of a nearby track or community centre or go for a walk or run through the local neighborhood.
FOCUS. Train specifically for your goal. If you want to lose weight then aerobic activity four times every week is required, but diet is equally important every day. If muscle gain or toning is the goal, then a specific strength program is necessary. The help of a personal trainer or kinesiologist would be key in preventing injuries as well as tailoring a program specific to your needs.
SET MINI GOALS. Your mini goals could be measured weekly or monthly. Measure fitness or strength via specific measurements such as body measurements, weight, body fat composition (on most home scales), timed run, etc. Be sure to REWARD yourself when you achieve your milestones! This might be a dinner out or a cool new piece of equipment or workout gear.
STICK WITH IT. Don't jump off the bandwagon because of a minor set back. We all have bad days or even weeks because of work, kids, sickness or injury. Just don’t let a few days or a week deter you from reaching your end goal. A lifestyle change is not a short-term plan and we get immediate gains from just doing activity. Every time we exercise, we increase energy, shake the blues, decrease stress, increase metabolism, and improve both our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system. Feeling guilty about not doing activity makes for future poor decisions so don’t overthink things too much. Don't worry about the workouts you didn't do, just get out for a few songs worth of activity and KEEP MOVING!
From everyone at Royal City Physio, we wish you and yours a very happy new year and all the best. See you in 2015!