Ways to get moving this spring
Spring is all about new beginnings – be it turning over a brand new leaf or injecting life into tired old routines – which makes this season the perfect time to start being active again or switch up your usual routine. “It’s very common for people to feel more motivated to exercise once the spring season hits,” explains Tasmanian-based exercise physiologist, Erin Hobson. “I think it’s a combination of the warmer weather being much more appealing to exercise in, and the fact that a lot of us tend to put on a few unwanted kilograms in the colder months. Once spring arrives, people are keen to do what they can to lose the extra weight.” Kickstart your journey to better fitness now with these expert tips.
Fact: Keep your levels of vitamin D topped up by exercising outdoors during springtime and, according to Japanese researchers, you’re 58 per cent less likely to catch a cold.
Look at the bigger picture
It’s official: rolling out of bed and into a pair of running shoes is a lot easier in spring than it is in winter. Exercise physiologist Jessica Northcott suggests taking the natural inclination you feel towards exercising in spring in order to look at the bigger fitness picture, and find lasting motivation to get healthy. “The best motivators for exercising (and to keep it going) are those things that mean something to you personally,” she reveals. Northcott recommends keeping the bigger picture in mind, such as wanting to be fitter so that you can keep up more easily with your children when you’re kicking that soccer ball around. The bottom line? If you’re working towards a long-term goal – as opposed to a short-term get healthy – it’s far more likely that you will be able to sustain it.
Outdoor activity ideas
Once you start thinking about spring as an opportunity to get active, the exercise options are endless – particularly when you make it a priority to try something new, or shake up your normal workout by changing the backdrop. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started:
1. Walk on sand
Walking along any shape or form of sand is an extremely effective way to exercise. When you bounce a ball against a solid surface it bounces back, but when you bounce a ball on sand it drops. Our bodies are much the same. Walking on sand feels harder because we don’t have a solid surface to “bounce off”. Plus the unstable surface gives your tendons and stabilisers a real workout!. Northcott says “The other great thing is that by getting outside and into the fresh air, your state of mind and vitamin D levels will benefit, too.”
2. Get fit with friends
Looking to try a team sport? In spring, options include traditional choices, such as tennis and cricket, but also water-based sports including rowing and even dragon boat racing. “The great thing about team sports is that they usually cater for a range of different levels, with teams available to suit your fitness and experience,” explains Hobson. “They can also be incredibly motivating because you're working as part of a team not just for yourself". To learn more about joining a sporting team check out http://goodsports.com.au/ it’s a nation-wide site that can help you find a local sporting club that’s perfect for you.
3. Try a water workout
“This is a low-impact exercise option, which is important if you’re carrying an injury,” says Northcott. “Swimming gives a full-body workout. It isn’t weight bearing, and provides a fantastic cardiovascular and resistance exercise rolled into one.” And if swimming isn’t your thing, don’t worry. “Walk through the water as fast as you can instead – the resistance of the water means this is still an effective way to exercise,” suggests Northcott. Try our aquatic workout.
4. Take a walk in nature
Like the idea of fresh air and a free workout? “Bushwalking is the ideal choice for maintaining and improving cardiovascular fitness, along with really strengthening the lower body,” explains Hobson. “As you become more experienced and can take part in more challenging walks, incorporate steeper hills and even rockier inclines and declines.” To find a local club, head to www.bushwalkingaustralia.org. Read our guide to hiking for great walks to do throughout Australia and New Zealand.
5. Ride your bike
Bike riding can be a great way to increase fitness gradually, you can progress from slow, easy cycling to more explosive interval sprints. It’s also a perfect way to target your thighs and calves. Just remember to wear a helmet whenever you’re on the bike, and, if you plan to ride on the road, read up on road rules and riding etiquette. To learn more about road rules or to find a club in your area, go to http://www.cycling.org.au/Get-Involved/Find-a-Club or try our at home bike workout.