Hi, I’m Joshua Neal, and I am a Studio Manager, Performer and Inclusion Council Member for Life Time Fitness. Working out and dancing has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid. At the age of 19, I entered the world of fitness as a hi/lo and step instructor. From that moment on I knew my purpose was to help others be healthy. After receiving my Yoga Certification, Life Coach Certification and healing some deep-rooted wounds, I expanded my purpose even more by inspiring others to stay healthy mentally and physically.
With all the challenges and uncertainties that 2020 has brought us, it’s important that we stay healthy mentally, physically and emotionally this winter. Mental Health America studies show that the number of people seeking help has skyrocketed. Compared to last year, 93% more people this year have screened for anxiety and 62% more for depression. There are many mental benefits from working out:
- Reduces anxiety, stress and depression
- Feelings of Joy and Happiness
- Sense of Achievement
- Improved judgment skills and clarity
- Increased learning skills
MASM and AHA recommend that you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity during the course of the week. The US Department of Health and Human Services states that 80% of adults do not meet those minimum requirements. There are many physical benefits from working out:
- More flexible
- Weight loss/Weight gain achievements
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Longer life span
- Strengthen Bones and Muscles
Here are a some tips how you can stay healthy physically, mentally emotionally this winter.
Be positive. You must want it. Gear your mind for success. Acknowledge how you feel first about working out in the winter and then adjust that mindset if needed. Develop a positive mindset and everything will build from it.
Goal setting involves in the development of an action plan. It is a major component to personal development. Once you have a goal in mind it holds you accountable to meet it. Additionally, share your goals with others for extra accountability. Think about what you want to do and achieve. For example: “I want to jog for one mile” or “I want to lose five pounds in 60 days.”
What all do you need to get ready? What will help you achieve your goal? For example, if you are going jogging you will need a good pair of running shoes. Maybe the HOKA Clifton 7 or the Carbon X 2. I run in my Cliftons often and they are super comfortable and light. Selecting the apparel is important when working out in the winter. I absolutely love my HOKA Bondi Hoodie and beanie.
ACCOUNTABILITY/ SUPPORT SYSTEM
Grab some friends. Share with your spouse what your goals are. Get the kids involved. Surround yourself around positive influencers. The more you include others the more likely you can achieve your goals. Plus, working out is much more fun with others!
MAKE DAILY ACTIVITY/ CHORES MORE ACTIVE
Think of ways to make your normal routine more active. If distance is appropriate, walk/ jog to the store instead of driving. Or change your regular route for a longer one. Carry the grocery bags to the car. When cleaning at home, add walking up and down the stairs as part of the routine. When taking your pets outside to use the restroom, go for a little walk around the neighborhood.
Meditation allows you to be in the present moment. Yoga links the mind, body and soul. Meditation and prayer can prevent spiraling down the dark path or the “I can’t do this” attitude. Try to just sit still for 10 minutes and focus on breathing. Grab some comfy clothes and take a yoga class. The HOKA performance full length tights have a nice soft feel against the body and you can wear them anywhere. Yoga has many physical benefits including increased flexibility and balance. Beyond the physical, yoga offers mental benefits like relief from stress, anxiety and fear. Yoga is a great opportunity to turn inward and find gratitude.
Attending a church or any type of religion service will feed your spirit and soul. We need our mind’s body and soul leveled more than ever now. Churches are beginning to open their doors with social distance protocols. There are many apps and social media platforms you can use to help jump start your meditation, yoga and religion practice.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Working out in the winter can be a challenge because of the temperature. However, in the cold your body can regulate its temperature better. This means that you can often exercise farther and longer which allows you to burn more calories according to the American Heart Association. Exercising in extreme temperatures has shown the ability to enhance endurance and mental edge. So, take it outside, get active and don’t let the cold weather slow you down. Activities outside include but are not limited to: running, walking, meditating or practicing yoga in the park. Locations outside can be an additional motivating factor. Consider an open parking lot, your back yard, areas with color, parks, track and fields or just a nice view of nature. Remember to dress appropriately. The HOKA 1/2 Zip Midlayer is great for outdoor activities in the winter.
WORK OUT AT HOME/VIRTUAL/SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Whether you are stuck at home because of the current pandemic or just don’t have time to get out, there are still plenty of ways you can work out at home. Many fitness professionals are unable to return to the gym. They are offering workout programs on their social media platforms, and some even go live via Zoom, Instagram or Facebook. Certain health clubs are beginning to go virtual and or offer on-demand classes.
Life Time Fitness has recently partnered with Apple to offer a digital and virtual platform with a large variety of classes at an affordable rate. You are guaranteed to find a class just for you. I personally have a couple of classes on the Life Time On-Demand page. Don’t have workout equipment at home? There are still many options for you. Get creative! Use home furniture to help assist with your workouts. For example, you can use a chair for stabilization in a Barre class, or use can jugs of water as weights. You can use towels as sliders. Department stores carry a variety of workout equipment that you can purchase. No excuses: clear a room and start moving!
JOIN A 30-/60-DAY CHALLENGE
There are many fitness challenges that you can participate in. Joining a challenge not only help you reach your fitness goals but they also hold you accountable. Fitness challenges are fun and will help you maintain your workout routine during the winter. You can find various apps and online challenges that are designed for all levels to get involved with. Life Time offers a virtual 60-day challenge without even coming to the club.
Your diet plays an important role in your physical and mental health. Your body will experience changes in energy level and metabolism during the wintertime. It is important that you continue to watch your eating habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Consult with a nutritionist or dietitian for a personalized meal plan. In the winter you want to be able to find foods that can withstand the cold and provide nutrients that are essential during the winter.
JOURNAL/TALK TO SOMEONE/ TURN INWARD/READ
Your mental health is more important than ever. 2020 has brought us many uncertainties and has forced us to change the ways we normally live. As mentioned earlier, mental health statistics across the board have increased, so this is a great time to self-reflect and turn inward. Allow yourself to just feel. A great way to reduce stress and anxiety is to read a book and or journal your thoughts. If writing is not your thing, then talk to someone about your feelings. Whether it’s a professional therapist or a friend, let it out. It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to keep it in. Talking and journaling allows you to release negative energy and emotions, and brings calmness to the mind and body. Your mental health is important.
Staying active in the winter is valuable to your mental, physical and emotional health. I hope that these tips will help motivate you; inside or outside, be creative and make it a goal to be active this winter. Find that accountability partner and connect with others. Cheers to 2021, and cheers to a healthier you mentally, physically and emotionally this winter.
– Joshua Neal