Working It Out
I’m sure many can relate to having a desire to get fit and stay active but not being able to find the motivation or the time. And that’s OK, because there are countless resources that can help. At home, work and school, it’s extremely beneficial to have incentives, supporters and buddies on your journey.
“Whether they’re just starting their fitness journeys or have a lot of experience, many people don’t feel comfortable in a traditional gym environment,” says Christy Wynne, a wellness coach and owner of Inspire Wellness. She runs an eight-week wellness program and also works with people individually and in small groups at her home studio. The one-hour sessions target both strength training and cardio. “I want everyone to be comfortable; this isn’t an environment where you have to wear fancy gym clothes,” she explains. “It’s a more intimate experience that is catered to each person.”
The personal connections that are formed can help people stick with their fitness goals. Wynne checks in with her clients and gives them access to her via text, so they know they aren’t alone. Here, people who attend workout sessions in small groups get added support from their peers. “If you’re going to the gym, no one will notice if you miss a class,” she says. “Here, people love the camaraderie of group classes. It really helps them commit to the program and be accountable.”
Wynne’s advice for starting 2020 right:
“Start small with a couple of changes. People often want to try to do it all when it comes to diet and exercise, but they end up feeling deprived or exhausted. Implementing a couple of healthy habits in your routine won’t overwhelm you, and it will motivate you to do more.”
For many of us, the office isn’t the first place we think of when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but companies across the country are working hard to create active workplaces. Health and wellness initiatives are the new norm, and they can be a great place to start taking your own fitness into account. McClure Engineering is one local business that offers a variety of resources for employees. “To do well professionally, you need to make good personal choices, and health is a large part of that,” says Cassie Russell, director of human resources.
For the past five years, McClure has run a six-month Biggest Loser program where employees can work toward weight loss goals with the potential to win a cash prize. “It’s not just about dropping weight,” Russell explains. “We want people to learn to live a healthier lifestyle through exercise and diet.” The first three months focus on weight loss, and the next three are centered around how to maintain it. Russell says that while it’s a competition, everyone supports each other. “We joke that it takes a village,” she says. “Everybody can take individual steps, but when people work as a group, the accountability gives them a big push.”
Activity is just as crucial for kids as it is for adults. Laying the foundation for a healthy lifestyle can teach important skills. Programs like Girls on the Run and Let Me Run encourage kids to get active while developing self-respect. “Our curriculum is focused on social and emotional development while also providing girls a supportive environment where they can be active without competition,” says Lisa Mulligan, Girls on the Run program director. The 10-week program consists of two weekly meetings that include running activities and lessons on topics like teamwork and healthy ways to address conflict. At the end, girls participate in a 5K.
Executive director Courtney Berg notes that programs like Girls on the Run are especially important because teens are adopting more sedentary lifestyles. According to the Aspen Institute, more than 75% of youth step away from organized sports by age 11. “We see that girls have an increased commitment to physical activity after participating in our lessons,” she says. “It’s critical that they build confidence, and practicing these skills in a social environment helps them realize they are capable.”
winter workout tips
No gym membership? No problem!
If you’re heading outside …
• Layer Up: Wear at least three layers: Something snug and breathable, added insulation and a wind-resistant jacket.
• Don’t Sweat the Cold: If you start your workout feeling chilly, you won’t overheat or soak your gear with sweat once you get moving.
• Embrace the Season: Try winter activities like ice skating, skiing, snowboarding or even snowball fights with the kids.
• Runners Take Note: Don’t let snow throw you off your stride.
– Wear a trail-running shoe with deeper treads, or use winter cleats.
– Slow down, and take shorter strides.
– Avoid hills.
– Run immediately after a snowfall to avoid hard-packed ice.
If you’re staying at home …
• Greet the Day: Yoga is a great way to warm up your body in the morning.
• Throw Your Weight Around: You can do body weight exercises at home without purchasing special equipment. Try push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, chair dips and squats.
• It’s Playtime: You’re probably not the only one feeling a little stir crazy. Playing actively with your kids or pets is a cardiovascular workout everyone can enjoy.
• A Running-Free Runner’s High: Get your heart pumping with stair climbing, jumping jacks, jump rope and burpees.
Additional sources: fitnessmagazine.com, thehealthjournals.com