Spring into Fit Living

A new season means it’s time to change your workout routine

By Lisa Cantkier, Holistic Nutritionist

With spring and new beginnings in the air, now is a great time to get fit and have fun. Indoors or out, high impact or low, it’s never too late to try new fitness activities. Aim for 30 minutes of fitness per day or 150 minutes per week. On your “off days,” consider speed walking or taking nature walks to keep your body in motion throughout the week.

The following fitness activities are not only fun, but have been shown to have numerous health benefits. If one sounds interesting to you, try a class and see if it’s a good fit. When you exercise, you produce endorphins that make you feel good—and that’s a good enough reason to get started.

Technique, flexibility and balance are all skills that take time to develop. You’ll want to give it a chance, so don’t give up too easily. Once you find what is right for you, sign up for a class at your local community center or gym, build it into your schedule and make your new activity a habit.

For the intense: CrossFit
A favourite among female celebrities, crossfit classes offer super-short (typically 20 minutes or less) and intense workouts. For those who love to have things “mixed up,” you’ll enjoy sprinting and climbing ropes one day, to weight lifting and doing push-ups the next. Many of the hardest routines are actually named after famous women.

For the water lovers: Water Walking
Water walking is low-impact fitness that’s easy on your joints. This activity helps you build muscle with water providing 12 times the resistance of air. Don’t misinterpret this activity as easy; you burn a good number of calories from the exercises and resistance. The support of water is easier on your joints than weight-bearing exercises such as running. You can do water walking in the swimming pool. For non-swimmers, some classes include the use of a flotation vest. Try signing up for a class at your local community center.

For the spiritual: Yoga
Yoga is a mind and body practice that offers breathing, meditation and stretching exercises. With yoga, you move into different body poses with deep breathing. Many poses can be modified to accommodate different fitness and flexibility levels. Yoga promotes stretching, strengthening and elongating of the muscles. It can be intense, but also very relaxing. Many enjoy the opportunity to be in the moment and focus on their “self.” Some people practice daily. Popular types of yoga include Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar and Vinyasa. Although gentle forms of yoga, such as restorative yoga can include props such as chairs or blankets. Usually, all you really need is your body and a qualified instructor.

For the dancers: Zumba
If you like to dance, you’ll love Zumba. This has become a personal favourite of mine over the last three years or so, thanks to my high-energy instructor, Debbie Bailis. All you need for Zumba is your body and a qualified instructor. According to Zumba.com, Zumba is perfect for everyone, regardless of age and ability. Usually taught as a dance class incorporating aerobics and latin beats, these classes are designed to bring people together to sweat. The classes mix low-intensity and high-intensity dance moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning exercise. Zumba includes cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility.