By: Dr. Brian Mallon at Full Range West Chester
It's that time of year. The Holidays. Spreading cheer, love and happiness. This year of course, all from a 6-foot distance. It's also that time of year for people to enjoy the many holiday treats we’ve come to expect over the years. Holiday cookies, pumpkin pies, leftover candy from Halloween. This does have the tendency to show a bit of our holiday cheer around our midsection, leading many to get that age-old New Year's resolution “I’m gonna go to the gym and get in shape”.
This year, as we are all aware, due to the pandemic, everything has changed. Gyms are closed in most areas again, and the cold weather does not serve as a great motivator. That leaves us in a tght spot! What can we do to get motivated, get in shape and shave off the results of those holiday treats? Here are 5 easy tips to help you get started.
- Start out slow: Starting a new workout routine is tough. Sore muscles, aches, pains and learning new creative ways to stay strong are tough obstacles. Don’t go for the gold on day 1. Fitness is a journey, not a destination and those who rush to get the big payoff often are dismayed at the results. If you’ve been inactive for a while, start with easy exercise that get your muscles back working again, without causing you too much soreness the next day. You should finish your workout feeling invigorated, not exhausted.
- Use household items: You don’t have to order the latest gadgets and gizmos that you see online. And you don’t need expensive equipment to get good results for your efforts. Most of the exercise “equipment” needed to start, can be found in your own home. One of those items you are most likely using right now, your chair! By simply standing and sitting in a controlled fashion, you can activate some major muscle groups in your hips, legs, and core, building stability and get your heart pumping.
- Don’t go it alone: It’s always nice to work out with friends. They commiserate with us. They motivate us. At home exercises can be done by almost anyone. Children love to join their parents in exercise and usually add good humor when you need it most. And an 8-year-old has just enough weight to make those pushups just a bit tougher. Don’t have someone at home? Search in your local social media groups for others like you. Virtual workout sessions via conferencing apps are being utilized more than ever.
- Don’t get discouraged: Everyone will have their bad days and their good days. Everyone will have those days when a workout just isn’t an option. Work obligations, family obligations, illness, or even just a poor night’s sleep can derail all your best intentions to work out on a given day. Don’t fret. There’s always tomorrow. No matter if you miss a day, a week or a month, there is nothing stopping you from starting fresh and get back to the grind. Don’t try and make up for lost time. Don’t do any more than you normally would. Get back on the horse and keep on sweatin.
- Set a goal: If you are anything like me, you do your best work when there is a goal in sight. Having trouble finding your motivation? Find something to shoot for. Set a date and set a target. It does not have to be monumental or mind blowing. It can be as simple as complete a workout every day for 1 week. Whatever your goal is, write it down, post it up and remind yourself every day that you have something to shoot for.
If you haven’t worked out in a while or have some health concerns, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor about changes to your fitness. If you have and injury, aches and pains that won't go away or simply some concerns about exercises, a conversation with a physical therapist can also be very helpful.
No matter what route you choose to improve your fitness, it should be something that gives you some enjoyment. Find something that brings you some happiness. This pandemic, like most things, will end in time and we can enjoy each other’s company and find our favorite treadmill at the gym again. Until then, stay safe, be creative, be adaptive, and even a bit adventurous.