Don’t Fall Into Madness

Don’t Fall Into Madness

It’s October, and the dropping temperatures at night and decreasing daylight leave no doubts that we are descending into fall. Why should that matter to you? We are entering the season of limited time and motivation to exercise, culminating on New Years Day when you find yourself scrambling to make new years resolutions to reverse the effects of limited exercise and increased eating over the next three months. It’s an annual struggle, but it need not be. How do you avoid this trap? Set specific goals, develop a plan, and stick to it!

Set Specific Goals

What’s your motivation? It may be to fit into a favorite outfit for the Holidays, to look good at the company Holiday celebration, to maintain your weight, or to continue making strides in your health and fitness plan that you’ve worked hard on all summer. Perhaps you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and would benefit from the endorphin release that exercise and activity provide. Or perhaps exercise is the stress reliever that you need, and limited exercise opportunities result in increasing stress for you.

So set your goals: Limit weight changes to 2% of body weight; set a specific number, type, and minutes of exercise to be completed on a weekly basis, and look for opportunities to get outside for activity when you can.

Develop a Plan

Regular, seasonal changes in exercise routine are good for us, providing variety and increasing interest in exercise and activity. So, with your new awareness and goals, now is a great time to mix it up and reconstitute your exercise and activity program. Fall is a good time to balance out neglected areas of fitness from your summer routine, so keep that in mind as well. Some general principles for developing a plan:

  • In striving for balance, include options for muscular strength development (weight lifting), flexibility (stretching, yoga), endurance exercises (walking, cycling, swimming) , and activities just for fun (Basketball, Pickleball, Racquetball).
  • Schedule exercise sessions during ‘dead time’, when you might otherwise be sedentary…lunchtime, after work, or while (or instead of) watching TV.
  • Try to get outside during daylight hours for exercise at least three days a week.
  • Challenge yourself to do something every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, and spend 45-75 minutes 5-6 days a week.

Stick to It!

Goals and Plans mean nothing without follow-through. On a daily basis I discuss the difficulty of executing a plan with patients, and despite fully understanding the concept it is still difficult for me to do! However, there are several things you can do to raise the stakes when it comes to execution:

  • Sign up for a class and enjoy the experience of learning from an instructor and making friends who likely have similar goals.
  • Find a group of like-minded friends for weekly exercise sessions to walk, run, ride, or swim.
  • Make a pact with an accountability partner to left weights three days a week before or after work.
  • Schedule time at work during lunch to hit the gym or take a class, and enjoy the glow all afternoon.
  • Join a club: Masters swimming, running groups, hiking groups, and triathlon groups all provide accountability and competitive exercise and training programs, and are located in most areas of town.

Regardless of your goals, developing a plan and sticking to it are essential components of success with exercise and activity programs this time of year. However, if you have concerns regarding your preparation, come see us for an assessment and assistance developing a plan with our Sustained Optimal Performance program. Or if you are having lingering pain or movement difficulties, let one of our experienced physical therapist examine you and make recommendations for treatment. And of course if you are physically ready, set your goals, make your plan, and execute. Come New Years Eve, you will be happy you did!