Biker standing next to river

Getting back in shape

Getting back in shape is an excellent thing to do at any age. Whether it’s after childbirth, a holiday season with a little overindulgence or simply wanting a boost of energy, you know when you feel that you have to get back in shape. Though it’s sometimes easier said than done, so here are some tips to help you meet the challenges ahead.

Set a fitness goal

Whether you want to run a 5k, reduce your stress levels or prepare for a trip, all are excellent reasons to want to become fitter. The important thing is to know what your personal goal is in order to guide you what you do and keep you motivated. Everyone has a different idea of what being fit means to them, so tailor your goal to your own values and targets.

When you start or restart a fitness plan, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor for a check-up and discuss what you hope to achieve. Tell them  how you plan on achieving your fitness goals, do your plans include diet, exercise or both. Your doctor can give you sound advice based on your previous medical history and current health status.  Getting the advice of a professional trainer is also not a bad idea. It can help you set realistic goals.

Find some activity that really motivates you

Walking, biking, yoga, climbing… whatever you choose. The important thing is that your choice is a natural fit for you, something that you find enjoyable and motivating. Choosing well will help improve the likelihood that you’ll stick with the activity and make you happy.

Choose the right time

Are you about to have a really busy month? Do you have vacation  coming ? Perhaps you’re still waiting for the right time to begin a new fitness plan. If you start at the wrong time, you might end up discouraged and we want to avoid that. So, choose a time when it seems realistic to add new activities into your schedule in a way that you know will help you stay committed. That being said, there is never a “perfect time”, so don’t wait for the stars to align, set a plan and make a promise to yourself to follow through.

Integrate moving into your daily routine

If you’re not really athletic, you can still improve on your fitness by integrating changes in your daily habits without disrupting your routine all that much.

  • Bike or walk to work or when you’re running local errands
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Take a walk after dinner or later in the evening
  • Get up and go see your colleague rather than simply sending an email
  • Exercise while you’re watching a movie or TV

Have fun with fitness

No one ever said getting back in shape had to be painful or complicated. Work out or play sports with friends and family to make it a shared and fun part of your routine. Listen to your favourite music while you’re exercising. Most of all, avoid comparing yourself to others and congratulate yourself on your progress as you get closer and closer to your goal.

In addition to your new activities, here are some essential pointers for getting back in shape:

  • Stay hydrated: When you increase physical exertion, you need to stay hydrated to replace the water you naturally lose as your body sweats. Keeping well hydrated also helps keep your muscles and tendons working properly and reduces your body temperature as it rises through work or warm temperatures.
  • Eat well: With the release of Canada's new food guide at the beginning of 2019, there’s no reason to avoid adopting healthy eating habits. A healthy and balanced diet contributes to an overall sense of well-being and helps reduce risks associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

So, stay motivated and achieve your goals!

Gabrielle Asselin