Get ready for ‘spring training’
Published 1:54 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Spring is a season of transformation, where buds bloom into flowers, and trees don their lush green leaves once more. Harriet Ann Jacobs penned, “The beautiful spring has come; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”
There are several reasons this is a great time of year to start a fitness program. First, as weather warms, it motivates folks to get outside, and the longer, pleasant days make it more enjoyable to exercise. Also, after being cooped up inside all winter, the fresh spring air can feel invigorating and energizing.
Exercise is so very important to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that only 23% of Americans get enough exercise each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? The CDC recommends that folks get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous, intensive activity per week. Also, approximately 30.7% of American adults are considered overweight, with 42.4% in the obesity range.
Physical exercise reduces obesity and its health risks in several ways. First, calories are used, or burned, during exercise, but the real beauty of proper weight training is that when you build muscle, your metabolic rate increases. This means you burn calories long after working out, even while you sleep. Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity. In addition to weight control, a springtime exercise regimen strengthens the heart and improves blood circulation. It builds strength too, which of course, can be of real benefit. Remember, you carry fat, but muscle carries you. Also, regular, proper exercise squelches inflammation. Other benefits include boosted mood and mental health, and improved sleep patterns.
Get outside. In fact, research suggests that when folks are out in nature, they inhale aromatic compounds called phytoncides. Phytoncides can increase the body’s “killer cells,” a type of white blood cell that engages the immune system. Plants that give off phytoncides include cedar, pine and oak, but certain spices also contain these compounds, such as onion and garlic.
Before beginning a spring exercise program, it’s essential to take a few steps to ensure that you are ready and able to exercise safely and effectively. Here are a few considerations. First, check with your healthcare provider before starting any fitness regimen, whether you have underlying health conditions or not. You could have blood sugar, blood pressure, cardiovascular, or other health infirmities you’re unaware of.
You should also set clear goals. Before starting a workout routine, I recommend writing an entire page on what it will cost you in the near and distant future in terms of health, self-esteem, relationships, and anything else if you don’t follow through and get in shape. Then write an entire page on what you will gain in those same areas if you finally get fit. Remember the “why” is even more important than the “how.”
An experienced personal trainer can be of real assistance when exercising. They can create a workout plan tailored just to you. They can also guide you along the way and keep you accountable. Please feel free to call me, should you need assistance. I’ll be contacting those who’ve signed up for my free nutrition and fitness consultations.
David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 864-494-6215.