Simple Steps to Kick-Start Your Health This Spring
By: Caitlin McDonnell BS, CSCS, Pn1
Spring is in the air! I love this time of year as it starts to get warmer. People are outside going for walks or bike rides and the overall vibe is happiness and excitement. As spring arrives, many of us feel motivated to incorporate healthy habits into our routines. It’s the perfect season to be more mindful of how we treat our bodies. I notice this with many of my online coaching clients who seem refreshed and ready to introduce themselves to new healthy ways. We want to look good and feel good! Below are simple steps you can take to kick-start your health this spring!
Change up your exercise routine: Doing the same type of workouts can get boring and we end up losing the desire to do anything at all. If you’ve been exercising for a while and you’re not seeing results, chances are what you’re doing isn’t working and you need a change. This could mean trying a different type of exercise class, lifting heavier weights, finding a trainer to program workouts for you or doing short sprint intervals instead of that slow jog. There are so many possibilities in the world of exercise but sometimes we get stuck in a rut. It’s ok to try new things especially if what you’re doing isn’t getting you positive results.
Eat veggies with breakfast: We all know that vegetables are good for us but many of us don’t eat enough. The simplest way to increase your veggie intake is to have some with breakfast! Sauté spinach or kale to have alongside your eggs or toss broccoli into your omelette. If you eat on the run, make a protein shake and add in a handful of greens (my favorites are baby kale or spinach). You’ll feel so much better knowing you’ve already had a serving (or two!) of veggies before noon!
Find a workout buddy: Having a friend to workout with is so important. Not only does it make exercise more fun but it holds you accountable. You feel motivated to show up and actually do the work (a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!). You can start small by asking a friend or neighbor to go for a walk or run. I’ve had clients set monthly weight loss goals together which is a great way to stay motivated, especially if you have someone you can check in with to discuss challenges and celebrate your successes. It’s really important to have someone help lift your spirits and get you into the gym even when you don’t feel like it. Consistency is key when it comes to getting results so find a buddy who will make you stick to your routine.
Go for walks: Walking is so good for us when it comes to our health, but often overlooked. We think we need to workout at a very high intensity in order to get results and while that does have it’s advantages, so does going for long walks! The key to these is to disconnect from the world. In other words, walking while scrolling Facebook and Instagram isn’t going to cut it. For my clients who strength train 2-3 days per week and then do high intensity cardio another day or two, I also have them going for long walks 1-2 days/ week. This helps to lower cortisol levels, which in turn helps decrease inflammation in the body, leading to fat loss. It’s truly amazing what going for long walks two days per week can do for someone. Put your headphones in and listen to a podcast, an audio book or your favorite playlist. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and give your mind a break from the daily stressors we’re so used to dealing with. You will not regret adding a walk or two into your weekly routine!
Treat your body well: Oftentimes we forget that every single thing we do affects our bodies. The food we eat, what we drink, how much sleep we get and the quality of that sleep, that activity we do (or lack thereof) and the stress we’re under. Mentally, physically and emotionally our bodies are processing our actions day in and day out. I see this more frequently with women; we tend to put our families and loved ones before ourselves, taking care of them and forgetting about us! It’s extremely uplifting and rewarding when we make the mindset shift and realize that how we treat ourselves directly relates to the happiness of those we surround ourselves with. If we aren’t happy, chances are our loved ones will pick up on that and feel that unhappiness with us. Treat yourself with respect. What you do is who you become. Be proud of yourself and show your body some love, it’s the only one you’ve got.