Now that New Year’s resolutions are 4 months behind us, whether you’ve kept on track with your wellness goals, or you have run into some boredom, it’s time to refresh things! Working out does not have to be work, tedious, or have a specific structure (i.e. 20 minutes of jogging, or 10 reps of such and such exercise) to be highly beneficial for health. I invite you to follow find and follow your inspiration to movement that leaves you glowing from the inside out.
What follows are ways to switch up your routine in a variety of ways. Since new habits are formed in about the span of a month, statistically speaking, why not try for a 30 day commitment to really see if your routine is working for you.
Learning a new skill
The benefits of learning a new physical skill not only benefit your typical fitness markers, but also your brain health! With technology doing many of the tasks our brain used to do, it’s important to give the old grey matter some stimulus. Additionally, by learning a new skill you may meet a new group of friends, be more engaged, and you may even find muscles you didn’t know you had.
Bonus points: Try something totally out of your comfort zone to (eventually) gain even more self confidence.
Take it outside
Even the most standard strength training gym workouts can be taken outside. The fresh air, uneven surfaces, and creativity you will have to use to modify your workouts will be more than enough to re-engage your enthusiasm for exercise. Being in nature is also linked to experiencing lower rates of stress. Even if your nature is a city park with a few trees, it counts!
Join a group
The accountability is real and the camaraderie invigorating. There will always be someone less skilled than you and more skilled than you, so you have goals to shoot for, and someone to inspire. Well done, you.
Remember what you loved to do when you were a kid? In college? Go back to a favorite activity that brings you joy. Is it simply playing catch? Kickball with your buddies? Making that hill in your backyard a slip and slide? (Yes, it counts) Play is a lost art, find it again, and a spark in your heart with it.
Companies like MovNat, Spartan Races, Tough Mudder, American Ninja Warrior, and the like are capitalizing on people’s innate desire to move their bodies in functional way. Most of use no longer carry water from wells, jump over fences, chop wood, or have to navigate sketchy terrain in our weekly lives. But guess what? Many generations before us did, because that’s what real humans do. Get back in touch with your roots, and your body’s abilities with functional movements. If you don’t workout regularly, consider starting with YouTube routines from MovNat and/or Movement Parallels Life who put up beginner to advanced videos on ground movement, squatting, balance, jumping, pulling, obstacle training.
Bonus points: Have certain baseline skills and/or accomplishments you’re moving towards. For example, maybe you want to be able to do 10 pull-ups or carry 50lbs across a soccer field. Build your workout around the strength and skills necessary. A personal trainer can be helpful here, but there’s plenty of resources out there to aid in your journey.
Book a trip
Specifically, book a trip that involves “training”. It can be as simple as wanting to walk around Washington D.C. to site-see, which involves 5-7 miles/day. If that’s your trip, you might want to work on foot and ankle flexibility, hip mobility, hamstring and calf flexibility and, of course, your cardiovascular abilities. Katie Bowman is a functional movement expert, and has produced great resources to enhance your lifelong ability to be mobile. Start with the book Move Your DNA, and be sure to visit her website for video content and more specific books.
Chunk it out!
Chunking it out is an efficiency tool where you dedicate small amounts of time to complete a task. For example, you answer emails for 30 minutes, then move onto something else. This allows our often scattered mind to focus, and be more efficient and effective, resulting in better mindfulness, and more quality work. This technique can be utilized to incorporate exercise throughout your day. Movement begets movement, so you may find wanting to move later on naturally, rather than feeling sluggish at the end a day of sitting, only wanting to rest more. Here are some examples of chunking out movement:
- 5 min of gentle stretching (cat-cow, rolling your shoulders etc) in the morning
- 15 min walk at lunch with lunges
- 20 min walk after dinner with mindful breathing
- 10 squats or push-ups after specified tasks, like emailing, lunch, coffee break, bathroom break, meetings. Bonus points: Involve the family! Pretend you’re a lizard and do push-ups or use your reverse crawl to imitate a crab. Let it be playful, kids or no kids.
Movement is naturally compelling for the human body. Getting back in touch with what feels good to your body can be a source of inspiration. So, here’s to play, new skills, new friends, or whatever else comes from your Spring movement refresh!