1. Get Real!
a. Getting “fit” doesn’t happen overnight. Just like any lifestyle change, you need to begin slowly. If you go too hard, too fast, you are more likely to burn out and increase your risk of injury. If you have not exercised in years, make your goal to start moving your body a couple of days a week. Once that gets easy, try increasing your length of exercise, or increasing the number of days per week.
2. Do what you LOVE!
a. Fitness should be enjoyable, not a chore. If you hate the thought of running, don’t force yourself to run? Join an exercise class, play in the snow, walk on the boardwalk, or join a recreational sports team. The possibilities are endless. Exercising should be something you look forward to each day. Meet a friend for your fitness fun and you can keep each other accountable!
3. Go for a gym test-drive!
a. We are so lucky in Summerside to have many unique indoor and outdoor fitness facilities with different ways to get active. Most gyms will give you a free trial period, so use it before committing. Visit each gym, and find which one vibes with you! Meet the instructors, try the equipment and classes. Make an informed decision that you feel great about. Don’t leave your health and fitness up to chance.
4. Focus on MOOD over MUSCLE!
a. Rather than focussing on numbers, focus on how exercise makes you feel. Exercise should empower you and make you feel happy! It should also be something that makes life easier. Have you found it easier to lift your grandchild, feel less winded climbing a flight of stairs, or have an easier time carrying in the groceries? That’s what being active is all about!
It’s all about the journey! Wellness is a hot topic these days – but what does it really mean? According to P.E.I.’s Grade 10 Wellness curriculum guide (2014), wellness is a journey - the pursuit of balance and continued growth within five dimensions: physical, social, psychological, spiritual, and environmental. These dimensions are connected to and impact each other. We must pay attention to all five dimensions in order to maintain or improve our quality of life – our wellness. If we neglect one dimension of wellness, our overall well-being will suffer, and if we improve one dimension of wellness, it can have a positive influence on the others.
The physical dimension of wellness includes the functional operation of the body, and promotes development of the confidence and competence to be physically active for life. Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies to allow us to function optimally. This means seeking appropriate medical care, rather than letting pain dictate your life. When you have an ache or pain, injury, or tightness, visit your chiropractor or manual therapist to get issues managed. Once pain and dysfunction is off the table, you will be able to move better, and move often! Do not let “getting older” be an excuse for not being active; most aches and pains associated with aging are actually a result of weakness and inactivity.
When you enhance your physical wellness, many other aspects of wellness will amplify. Exercising makes you feel good (thanks endorphins!) which can certainly enhance one’s psychological wellbeing. Exercising can also be a social event - (go and see for yourself at a fitness class. It can help you to form new bonds and friendships, thus enhancing your social wellness. Exercise can also boost and preserve your intelligence, as well as increasing your mindfulness and spiritual wellness through activities like yoga, and your environmental wellness through being active in nature.
Enjoy your journey J
- Dr. Megan (Meg) McDonald is from Summerside and a graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and Saint Francis Xavier University; Academic All-Canadian - Varsity Volleyball. Her lifestyle is a testament to her belief that physical fitness and an active lifestyle are an important part of well-being and injury prevention. Her column will appear each month in the Journal Pioneer. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org