Changing with the Seasons
Is it just me, or is spring in the air? While a change of seasons is exciting for a lot of reasons, one of the aspects I look forward to is a change in my exercise regime. Life in Canada comes with distinct (and somewhat unpredictable) seasons, and having an exercise plan that aligns with this is a great way to make the most of good weather, the most of indoor training, and will add variety to your active lifestyle.
Let’s start by taking a look at what most people would identify as their most active season, summer. Summer is a time for gardening, lawn mowing, getting to the cabin and rejoining your friends for softball. With warm days and many of hours of sun the possibilities for physical activity seem endless. Days filled with dog walks and bike rides abound! For most people with the goal of maintaining a balanced active lifestyle summer is the time to be outdoors playing, socializing and exploring. With this in mind, I tend to recommend that we focus our plans and goals on activities that allow us to make the most of the outdoors, which might mean less time in the gym, pool or badminton court and more time playing soccer, hiking and running in the river valley.
From summer we transition to fall, vacations are wrapping up and as it cools down life tends to be more consistent. This is a perfect time to work on implementing an exercise routine and begin to transition some of our workouts to indoors. While still feeling refreshed from summer fun, I like to re-establish my gym based strength routine and focus on fundamentals like yoga or pilates class. By setting up a routine at this time, it becomes easier to stick to it come the December holidays.
As we get into the snowy part of winter some new possibilities open up such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing and downhill skiing. And of course snow shovelling too! Many people continue to run and walk outdoors, as well. Incorporating some outdoor physical activity is great for our mood and mental wellbeing and is often overlooked when it gets cold. By planning ahead and choosing the right equipment, outdoor exercise can continue to be safe and effective. For those that are less attuned to winter weather, this is an ideal time to ramp up that weight routine or to have some fun trying a fitness class such as beginner dance, boot camp, or spin. For myself, I find winter is when I escape to the warmth and humidity of the pool. Whether you swim laps, play with the kids or join an aqua fit class, pool workouts improve endurance, joint range of motion and cardiovascular health.
With spring comes another transition phase in which we begin to enjoy some warmer days and can prepare our bodies for the rigours of upcoming summer activities. Since we spent the cooler seasons with a focus on strength and fundamentals, spring is the time to use progression strategies to safely increase our aerobic fitness. This gradual method of building up our ability is especially important if you took a break from activities like running or cycling during the winter months or need to shift from treadmill workouts to outdoor environments. Weather this time of year is still unpredictable, so having a back up if your outdoor plans don’t work out can keep you accountable and moving!
Planning for each season as part of an active lifestyle will look different for everyone and is largely based on where you live, what activities you enjoy and what your goals are. Simply by planning ahead you can make the most of what each season has to offer and live an active lifestyle year round, wherever you live!
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What is your favourite season for fitness?
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