There are no two ways about it— if you want to stay fit for life, staying active all year round is non-negotiable. However, these days, we all live for our routines and are always thinking in terms of ‘today,’ or ‘this week,’ ignoring the age-old natural rhythms of the seasons. But in ignoring the seasons, we are actually missing out on additional opportunities to build a healthier, more productive life. While it’s great to have a base routine, such as hitting the gym, going to a regular class or training with your PT 3-4 days per week, it’s always a good idea to mix things up seasonally so that you can reap the benefits. Here’s how you can shake up your workout routine, depending on the season:
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Summer is a great opportunity to get outdoors and soak up some much-needed vitamin D, so you may consider adding or swapping out some of your workouts for a swimming session, sand running, surfing or an outdoors workout to make the most of it. The days are also longer in summer, so there’s no excuse for missing your evening workout!
In autumn, it’s important to keep up the routine that you set (and hopefully stuck to) in summer. However, if you were pushing yourself hard with your training in summer, be mindful that excess amount of high cortisol in your system for an extended period of time can be damaging. So, if that’s the case, you may want to consider pulling back a little bit in autumn. It’s important to be honest with yourself as to whether you were working that hard (keep an eye out for these signs that you’re overtraining). I’m not saying to stop your hard workouts, just that if you’re doing them more than three days per week, you may want to consider swapping one with a barre class, yoga, Pilates or something that is a little more gentle.
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In winter, the days are shorter and colder and this affects many people’s moods. Not to mention that fact that many of us will struggle with a weaker immune system in winter! It’s for these reasons that it becomes even more important to stay fit and active during winter.
If you struggle with motivation, first and foremost, find a workout that you like. Secondly, make sure that the place you sign up to do it has multiple time options so that if you miss your morning workout you can still make it later in the day. In winter it’s also important to get some vitamin D, which means a little bit of sun exposure. Try to go for a walk outdoors for at least 15-20 minutes every day. I recently saw a meme that said ‘don’t forget to drink water and get sunlight because you’re basically a house plant with more complicated emotions’ and it really resonated!
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My next tip for winter is to sign up for a fun run and train for it, as now it’s the perfect time (you won’t sweat nearly as much as you would in summer!) The other good thing about running season is that there is an end date, so you have to train to be ready in time. Better still, sign up to a run club so you can connect with other likeminded people.
In spring, we’re all coming out of hibernation, so it’s time to ramp up the exercise to get ready for summer. It’s the perfect time to sign up to a tailored plan or join a slightly more intense class to help motivate you and make you feel great quickly. But make sure that you listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re exhausted. Pollen levels are also high in spring, so if you’re prone to allergies consider working out on the beach or indoors—away from the offending trees! You can check out Ben Lucas’ boutique fitness studio, Flow Athletic in Paddington, Sydney, here.