If you use the coming of spring and summer as an incentive to get into shape, you better get started.
I don’t think that people should just get into shape just because the warm weather is coming. However, I do recognize that people use the change of seasons as motivation for starting to exercise or for making changes to their existing routines.
So I’ll get the “you-should-know-better” part of this piece out of the way and tell you that taking care of yourself is a 12-month proposition. If you are consistent all year round with your workouts and nutritional habits, you won’t have to worry that bathing suit weather is right around the corner. I know all some of you hear is, “Blah, blah, blah,” but I speak truth.
Okay, so now that I’ve told you that you shouldn’t look at following a healthy lifestyle as a seasonal pursuit and recognize that real life indicates that people do this, I’ll try to help you get into shape for the spring.
First of all, you need to start making this change right now. Not in March, April or (certainly not!) May, but in February. This means those of us who live in places where Old Man Winter has us in his grip cannot wait until it gets a little nicer outside to make additions or changes to our activity routine. If you live in the Northeast or Midwest and wait until it starts to get less horrible our, it’s too late. You can’t depend on outside exercise to get you into shape.
Making changes to your routine and fitness level takes time. Despite what television shows like “The Biggest Loser” preach, you cannot cram five or six months of exercise into 6 weeks.
That being said, even where I live in New Jersey the weather is rarely that bad for a long enough period of time where I cannot get outside for a 20-30 minute workout at least once per week. I’m not a crazy person who heads out in the foulest of weather to workout. Not me. But I recognize that exercising in the cold winter air is a great way to shake off the winter doldrums.
Those of you who are regular visitors to HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com have seen my outdoor videos and know that I practice what I preach. Do yourself a favor and practice what I preach. Throw on some gloves, a hat, sweatshirt and whatever else you need to keep you comfortable on a cold, sunny day, and go for a walk, do some sprints, calisthenics or Kettlebell swings. Your neighbors might think you’re a bit odd, but we’ll know you’re cool.
Anyway, if you’re afraid of or unwilling to deal with the cold – even though cardiovascular equipment is not my favorite kind of aerobic activity – given the alternative of doing nothing to walking on a treadmill or elliptical-ing on an elliptical trainer, choose the machine-based activity. If you don’t have access to cardio equipment, calisthenics can provide you with an effective means to develop and improve your fitness level.
Actually, calisthenics are preferable to any machine-based cardiovascular exercise, but I’m not going to make that argument now. I’ll just leave it at this; if you want to get into great cardiovascular shape you will choose to do jumping jacks, squat thrusts, leg drives, grasshoppers, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. So if you want to get into shape for spring, start now.