Back to Basics

Posted in Announcements Blog Fitness Fitness & Wellness Corner News

By Christie Tippett, Assistant Director of Fitness
June 2021 Fitness & Wellness Corner

Mask mandates are being modified, businesses are being permitted to open back up to their desired capacity, and gyms/studios are welcoming members and offering most services once again. This is great news all around as we move toward going back to a more ‘normal’ world. But for those who have become acclimated to this pandemic lifestyle, I have to ask, how do you plan on getting back into your desired routine?

Will you jump right into it, lifting 3x per week? Will you head to your favorite group fitness classes multiple times per week to get your sweat on? I ask this because I believe things will be very different when we are able to get back to that sense of ‘normalcy.’ For example, due to covid restrictions, I have not lifted weights since March of 2020. Now if you know me at all, you know that weight lifting was a main part of my exercise regimen. Due to the pandemic, I was forced to attain a more body weight-focused training program that has been great, but not something I would have done if I had the choice of continuing weight training.

How about we head back to the basics, realizing that any movement is acceptable! Whether you are walking around the block, cutting the grass, or chasing your little sibling or child around the house, movement is movement, and it is a great thing!

If you are in the same boat as me, well adjusted to the pandemic work flow and eager to get back to where you once were exercise-wise, you have probably come to the same realization as me as well: We are most likely going to have to start over. That raises the question…where do I begin? Well there are a few things to consider that you may find to be helpful.

How about we head back to the basics, realizing that any movement is acceptable! Whether you are walking around the block, cutting the grass, or chasing your little sibling or child around the house, movement is movement, and it is a great thing! Let’s dive into the difference between physical activity and exercise. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), “Physical activity refers to movement that expends energy, such as walking, yardwork, recreational sports, or playtime. Physical activity can be categorized as continuous or intermittent and can be performed across a wide range of intensity levels, from walking a dog to vigorously shoveling snow after a storm. Physical activity is not typically structured or planned, rather, it represents natural movement throughout a person’s day. Exercise is a structured and planned form of human movement to elicit a physical adaptation, such as weight loss or improved endurance or strength. Examples of exercise include weight lifting, cycling, running, or swimming. Exercise programs can occur in a gym setting or outside and can also be performed alone or in a group setting.”

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about post-pandemic expectations. What are your expectations? Are your goals realistic given the circumstances that we were/are experiencing? My advice is to not be too hard on yourself and remember that moving from physical activity to exercise is a process. Below are a few helpful tips to getting started.

1. Remember Where You Are Coming From

It is great that you are getting back in the swing of things, but we must remember that we may be starting from scratch again. For example, if you were an avid lifter and you have not lifted weights throughout this entire pandemic, jumping right into your old strength training routine can be detrimental; chances are that you would not be able to lift as much as you were and that you may even get hurt trying to do so. Your body has adapted to the activities that you have been doing for the past ‘x’ amount of months during the pandemic. Realize that, respect that, and plan for what’s next. Look at it as a fresh start, or as an opportunity to change your goal with new resources available to you (i.e. Campus Recreation)!

2. Decide What Your Goal Is

That sounds like common sense, right? We don’t want to just aimlessly walk into Yates Field House or step onto Kehoe Field without some sort of goal in mind. Typically, we advise individuals to set S.M.A.R.T. goals when starting a new regimen. In fact, we wrote an awesome blog post about S.M.A.R.T. goals; however, given the circumstances, if you walk into Yates Field House without a well thought-out plan, but rather maybe just the plan to show up, THAT’S OKAY TOO. That means your goal was to get moving, and that is a great start! Which leads me to the next and final step…

3. Give Yourself Grace

Let’s focus on the person in the mirror. I’m not talking about the other individual you may notice while you are on the fitness floor, but rather the person in the mirror when no one else is in the room. Nobody knows your story. No one else knows the obstacles that you have personally faced pre-covid, during the pandemic, or even now. Forgive yourself and realize that nobody is perfect. I encourage you to focus on doing this for yourself, and no one else. Starting over is hard. You may find that your dumbbell weights have decreased, or that you cannot sustain that high intensity cardio session for as long as you were able to before. THAT’S OKAY! Maybe you have forgotten the journey you took to get to where you were last time, but there is indeed always a process. Our bodies will take us where we aim to go so long as we are patient, kind, and knowledgeable about how to get there safely and effectively. Lastly, consider training for happiness! It will make your health and wellness voyage that much more enjoyable.

Remembering that this is your own personal journey and realizing that there will be additional twists and turns will save you frustration in the long run. Be patient with yourself. You are resilient and everyone needs to start somewhere. For further guidance and tips on taking the next step toward increasing your physical well-being or creating your own workout regimen – no matter where you are in your quest – I encourage you to check out the below blog posts or Anatomy & Physiology Crash Course videos!

This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.