Getting Back Outside After A Long Winter

Spring is in the air! This winter feels like it has dragged on for far too long, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see double-digit temperatures on the horizon. For me, the warming weather almost immediately gets me in the mood to start spending time outdoors.

One thing that I notice, even in myself, with the start of spring, is the sudden urge to jump head first into outdoor workouts and summer sports, etc. While I absolutely love the enthusiasm for getting active, there are a few things that you might want to consider before going out for that first run.

Often, the activities we take part in over the spring and summer months, aren’t as available to us throughout the winter. This makes it even more exciting when the weather starts to change, and we can get back to the activities we love, but it also means that because we haven’t been doing them consistently for a good 4 or 5 months, and our bodies need time to adjust.

Edmonton Rivervalley Workout - StretchFor example, I am not an avid runner… well, to be perfectly honest, I’m not even an adequate runner, but when spring hits, and I want to get outside, I automatically want to grab a friend and hit the trails or the stairs. While this is a great idea in theory, I haven’t been running all winter, and my body isn’t conditioned to do so yet, therefore if I were to jump right into a 10K run, or try to sprint the Glenora stairs, I open myself up to the possibility of injury. On top of that, I’ll also find that my performance is a lot less impressive than I remember it being last year, which can be disappointing and discouraging.

Even though I’ve been exercising and keeping in shape throughout the winter, I haven’t been keeping up with those specific activities, which means I will need to get back into them gradually in order to get my performance back to the level that it was last year, and from there, I can continue to improve.

If you’ve got a leg up on me, and you’ve brought your summer activities indoors, and kept them up through the winter, congrats! You are starting the season off in a great place, but there are also other factors that our body needs to adjust to once we take our activity back outside. Indoors, we train in a very controlled environment. The temperature, air quality, and even the surfaces we train on, they’re all constant; our body has already adapted to them, and they don’t really factor into our performance. Once you get outside, however, all of that consistency goes out the window… or I guess in this case it remains safely behind the window. The environmental factors outside are always fluctuating. Wind, humidity, temperature, air quality, and allergens are just a few factors that affect performance. Your body will need time to get used to handling the fluctuations in the environment on top whatever activity you’ve chosen.

That all being said, here are a few things to keep in mind when you start getting outside this spring!

  • Gradual change: when you are first getting back into your outdoor activity, regardless of whether you’ve kept active all winter, start small and build, you’ll be less likely to be injured, and you will be able to increase your performance overall.
  • Set reasonable goals: This ties in with the previous point, but it is important to know where you are starting from, and set realistic goals. If you haven’t run all winter, and you decide to run a marathon, you will likely not do as well as you’d like and could potentially hurt yourself, start with a 5k, then a 10k, then a half, etc. Work your way up and congratulate yourself on the small victories which will ultimately lead to larger ones.
  • Prepare for the weather (and the environment): This means making sure you’ve dressed appropriately, wearing sunscreen if need be, being aware of/prepared for seasonal allergies, knowing what type of footwear is best for your activity (ex. trail running vs road running). Keeping all of these things in mind and being prepared, will help to reduce the impact of the environment on your training.
  • Have fun: Last, but possibly most importantly, whatever activity you choose this summer, enjoy yourself. Being outdoors has so many health benefits beyond that which you achieve from exercise, so take advantage of it while you can!

Edmonton Rivervalley workout - plank

 

“What do you think of _________ diet?”

The word “diet” has been given a bad rap! Often, when someone uses that word, they are talking about making a short-term, sometimes extreme, change to their eating habits, but in reality, a “diet” isn’t short-term at all. Simply put, your “diet” is just the food that you eat. Whether good, bad, structured, flexible, whatever, if you eat it, its part of your diet. So if that’s the case, why are there so many different types of diets out there? Part of the reason for this, is because there are many different dietary habits that can have benefits, and many different reasons to choose to adopt those habits. On top of that, there is also a lot of information out there about nutrition, some of it, conflicting, and filtering through it to find what may be right for you can be challenging.

With so much information and so many diets out there, it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed, and confused; in fact, one of the most common questions I get asked is “what do you think of _________ diet?” Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, intermittent fasting, low-carb, low-fat, etc. Any type of diet you can think of, there is someone who has questions about it and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have all the answers. Even as a nutrition professional, it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest information about the many different diets out there, so when a client is feeling confused, I completely understand! Despite not being able to be an expert in all different diets, there is one answer that I stand by when someone asks me if “diet ________ is right” for them, and that is, it depends. (more…)

Daily Checklist for Better Health

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you may have noticed that I talk a lot about healthy habits and creating sustainable change that fits your life. That probably sounds great in theory, but you might be wondering what that actually looks like.

First and foremost, everyone is different. We all have different goals, interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and even more importantly, we all lead incredibly different lives. The demands of our daily lives and our stress levels have the most significant impact on the habits we form, and the decisions we make. These individual differences are why I choose to take a different approach with each of my clients, to find what best suits their life.

Forming new habits can be challenging and time-consuming. If you think about how long it took to get to where you are now, and form your current habits, it makes sense that changing would be a process; unfortunately, in our current society where everything is available to us at the touch of a button, it’s easy to be discouraged by things that require a longer process.

I want to help prevent you from getting discouraged throughout this process, which is why I’ve created a daily checklist for better health. Here you’ll find a few simple habits to try to incorporate into every day, that will help improve your health, without adding extra stress. (more…)