Now that February is almost behind us, perhaps you have been working diligently during these past few weeks to achieve your fitness goals. Perhaps you have been swimming, strength training, practicing yoga, or just walking or jogging in the fresh air.
If you made New Year’s resolutions to be more fit or to work out more, have you been successful? Last month, I wrote Four New Year’s Resolutions to Forget. Setting new goals for being physically fit is relatively easy, it’s the sustainability of achieving them that often slows us down.
Perhaps you joined a gym after all. Are you attending regularly?
Maybe your goal was to dust off your old treadmill and get back to it. Did you?
If not, it’s still not too late. Don’t put a time frame on fitness and wellness.
February is typically the month that many resolutions made for the New Year fail. Most of these fail because goals were not specific (or SMART), or perhaps the goals were made hastily or for someone else. For example, “I need to get in shape because I want to look better for my spouse,” or, “I want to have more energy for my kids or grandkids.” Whatever the motivation, be sure it works for you and not what someone else thinks you should do.
Even if you didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions (I didn’t), how are you feeling? Do you feel like you are accomplishing what you set out to do?
“Nobody’s journey is seamless or smooth. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. It’s just life’s way of saying, ’time to change course’.”Oprah Winfrey, for WW
If you have any doubts about your exercise and fitness regimen, here are some tips to freshen up your routine and save your workouts.
1. Add more time to your workout. If you are walking for 30 minutes, add five more minutes to your time over the next two weeks. When you feel ready, add another five minutes, and so on. You never know when you might achieve a step goal like mine from 2020!
Speaking of walking, WALK is my word of the year (WOTY) for 2022. Now that I’m almost to the end of February, I can say that I have walked every day, both physically and spiritually.
2. Try cross-training. This can be as simple as trying a new exercise or activity and adding it to your existing regimen. If you belong to a gym, try a spin class, Zumba, or boot camp. Adding a completely new and different type of workout exercises new muscles and can invigorate your fitness routine. If gyms are not your thing, check into your local recreation center for fitness classes. Cycling on a bike trail is a great change of scenery and you can bring a friend.
3. Buddy up. Simply walking or jogging with a friend can be an added incentive to continue your exercise regimen. I walked with a friend for years and it was easy to keep the walk date every week. Now I continue walking my dogs because we all benefit from the exercise and fresh air.
If using the gym, to help keep you motivated, bring a guest along to your gym workouts. Many gyms offer guest incentives and low, new member rates this time of year. Hiring a personal trainer can boost your workout as well as introduce you to new exercises. A trainer can motivate you and nudge you to work harder.
Boredom is a workout killer and having a friend along, or a dog, can help keep you both accountable and motivated. Joining classes at local community centers or your gym with regular attendees and instructors can also be an incentive to stick with it.
When I was teaching at the university in Sacramento, students in one of my classes were required to engage in the challenge ropes course on campus, then write a paper on motivation and facing fears. The spring semester found us on the course in mid-February getting a surprisingly good, but odd workout. The cold didn’t stop the students (or me), and I got up right there with them (not in this image). The point is that we can always discover new and interesting ways to get some exercise.
4. Check out your workout gear. If you are wearing the same old shoes you’ve had since 2018, it may be time to change them! Look for wear and tear in your footwear to make sure you aren’t causing harm to your feet, knees, and legs. Over time, I developed plantar fasciitis (painful heel), because I tend to pronate, which in turn caused my battle with knee issues. My purchase of good arch supports and better shoes saved me money spent on doctor’s visits!
If you swim, take a close look at your goggles or perhaps fins if using them. Many stores have winter clearance sales on equipment, clothing, and shoes. Now is the time to buy something new to add to your exercise wardrobe. Nothing like a bright color to put a spring into your step!
5. Quantify what you have accomplished so far. Write down how many days you exercise, for how long, record any inches or weight lost (or gained). Do your clothes feel looser? Make a note of that. Keeping an exercise journal can be very simple, from jotting on a notepad to keeping track on a mobile app. By writing things down, you can visually see what you have accomplished and see what else you might need to do to adjust.
My Fitbit app provided the graphic of steps taken, shown earlier.
Bonus Fitness FIX: Try a Free Mobile Workout App.
This month, needing more prompting to get off the sofa, I discovered two apps, Women Workout at Home and Stretching, which you can read more about HERE. Both are free, customizable, and offer a huge variety of quick workouts you can do in your own home. You can set a notification at a convenient time for you that prompts you to get up and do your workout! The slightly-robotic female voice guides you through each short exercise while counting down, then saves your workout in the app history. You can link it to GoogleFit if you wish.
ANOTHER Bonus Fitness Fix: Fitness Trackers
The continuing trend in fitness has been the wearable fitness tracker. These are activity and sleep monitors that track user movements and activity levels to provide information on metrics including step count, calories burned, distance traveled, and the number of hours of light and deep sleep via mobile technology. More notable are Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung watches. I’ve had good results with Fitbit’s Charge 4 and I am very pleased with its tracking ability. A low-tech pedometer also works.
Don’t let foul February weather, cold or hot depending on your current season, prevent you from getting your exercise each day. And don’t let a couple of setbacks be a barrier to regular exercise. Life can get in the way and disrupt our routines. Unfortunately, it seems easier to abandon our exercise plans when faced with time constraints or lack of interest. We all need to live balanced lives, and committing to leisure in the form of fitness and exercise in a consistent manner can lead to better health and happiness!
And forget about those pesky New Year’s resolutions. Just go DO IT, as Nike suggests.
I’ll be back in March with information on keeping track of your fitness. Have a great week!
Join me for Sunday Stills as we explore the theme “fresh.”
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