Stacy Baugues, PowerUp Fitness
Can you believe it?! February 2020 is just days away and most of the country has seen their fair share of winter weather, the dark and dreary, or bone chilling cold. Perhaps you’re feeling a bit of the winter blues?
Or, maybe you started the new decade full speed ahead and haven’t slowed down but those well-intended wellness goals quickly dropped to the bottom of your to-do list.
We often forget that physical and mental wellness impact other facets of our lives — from our energy level throughout the day to our ability to focus at work – when we make wellness a priority, we’re more equipped to tackle challenges of the day and be the best version of ourselves.
Stomp out the winter blues and move wellness to the top of your list with these small, easy changes:
Rethink Your ‘Get Moving’ Goals
As an exercise physiologist, I often hear unrealistic fitness goals this time of year — usually leaving people discouraged and defeated by February. Sound familiar? The good news is, every day is a fresh start. Try setting an exercise goal with a positive outcome. For example: instead of “I will walk 45 minutes every day to lose weight”, try “I will plan to walk four days a week and participate in a 5K [supporting an organization you care about] in March”.
What’s the difference? With the first goal, setting out to accomplish a specific duration of 45 minutes every single day is unrealistic – life happens and that’s okay. In the second goal, we’re giving ourselves some wiggle room with the four-day-a-week commitment and we’re working toward something specific, that we care about, with a target date. With the positive reinforcement and realistic expectations, you’re more likely to follow through and accomplish your goal. And, if weight loss is still a desired outcome, you’re still getting the exercise you originally planned on, we just switched the focus from the scale to the finish line.
Don’t have a specific movement goal in mind? That’s okay too! Use this season to find your version of joyful movement. What is joyful movement? It’s an approach to physical activity and that emphasizes finding joy in the way we move our bodies. So, whether that’s bundling up for a walk with friends, trying a new fitness class, signing up for recreational basketball team, or chasing kids around the playground, you’re more likely be active and stay active doing what you love.
Winter wellness tip #2: Focus on self-care this season. Often, we fill up everyone else’s cup before we fill our own. Taking time for self-care is critical to both your physical and mental health. I encourage and challenge you to add some “me time” to your calendar. Why? The act of intentionally scheduling time for self-care increases the likelihood that you’ll follow through. What does self-care look like? It’s different for everyone – it could be waking up 15 minutes before the rest of your household for quiet time with a warm cup of coffee, scheduling dinner or drinks with a few friends, or unwinding on weekends with a long walk and your favorite podcast. Whatever re-energizes you, this is your reminder that it’s not selfish, it’s self-care.
Prioritize Mental Health
During the grey days of winter, so many of us walk into the office before sunrise and come home after sunset. The winter blues are a real. You visit the dentist, schedule annual physicals with your doctor, maybe you even workout with a personal trainer, or attend professional development conferences, we often prioritize our physical and professional health over our mental health. Whether it’s through movement, self-care, or speaking with a professional, move mental health to the top of your list today.
Hone in on Hydration
Our final winter wellness tip: stay hydrated! During warm, summer months hydration seems to be at the forefront of our minds, but don’t let it stray during cold winter days. Drinking enough water can improve focus, alertness and improve reaction time and attention span. According to Mayo Clinic, women should drink 11.5 cups of fluids per day and men 15.5 cups per day. While drinking water may be the obvious choice, other fluids such as milk and juice can help you reach your hydration goals. Did you know that eating fruits and vegetables can contribute to your water intake too? Looking to sip on something warm this winter? Hot teas and coffee are also options or try adding some lemon and honey to a cup of warm water to mix it up. Sip and repeat!
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Stacy Baugues is an exercise physiologist and founder and CEO of PowerUp Fitness. Her company empowers youth through fitness, education, and fun. With online instructor training and ready-to-use programs, the PowerUp Fitness programs have spread to more than thirty schools and community centers across six states. Whether you advocate or become an instructor, you can PowerUp your community today. Learn how at www.powerupfitness.net.
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