There's nothing worth giving more heartfelt attention to than the health of your heart, especially in February
By the time February rolls around, many people feel a little less resolved about their New Year's resolutions, if they haven't dropped them altogether.
But as we reflect on our hearts during this month of love, why not also take the opportunity to really think about what makes this lovely muscle go pitter-patter. A few simple switch ups to your fitness routine could have your heart beating to a different drummer - and falling in love with exercise all over again.
Get Wooed by Your Workout
Feelings of dread when thinking about your workout or an absence of a post-workout "high" are part of recognizing that you're no longer enraptured by your routine. Be sure to listen to these signals because they're telling you your body is not experiencing the same benefits of the plan it once loved.
Put a little love back into your workout with these ideas:
Get Inspired: Just thinking about a new exercise plan can turn on your pre-workout energy, so keep inspiring material such as fitness magazines on your desk or coffee table to keep you inspired and experimenting. Some magazines even have workout pages that are easy to tear out and bring along with you to the gym.
Also, make sure to outfit your computer with inspiring material to keep you on track. Try using a screen saver of your fitness role-model, and make an exercise website your home page.
Turn up the Heat: Sprinting for 30 seconds just a few times in your regular treadmill routine could prove to be a treat; the rest of your time on there will feel easier compared to those interval sprints. Plus, you'll get a rush of endorphins and your heart rate will shoot sky high. Remember, a body that moves quickly burns quickly, meaning you'll see and feel the results of this small but effective push in no time. Learn more about interval training.
Turn on Your Brain with New Music: Studies show that once the brain masters something, the same activity fails to light up the areas it once did. Listening to your trusty workout playlist every time you exercise will weaken the message you're trying to send to your body. So before you head out the door, take a peak at your playlist. Only songs you absolutely love, that make you want to punch the air or drop-it-like it's hot should be there.
Stretch it Out: Don't leave your heart hanging. Taking the time to stretch and cool down means you will be able to let your body flush out lactic acid your muscles have acquired during the workout (a substance that results in muscle soreness and swelling). This time also allows your mind settle enough that the calming benefits of exercise can leave the gym with you.
Try this simple stretch to keep the love going long after your workout:
- Place your stretching mat against the wall, so the short side touches the wall.
- Lie your back down on the mat, and bring your legs up the wall, inching your bum as close to the wall as you can get it.
- Making sure you keep the back of your thighs against the wall slightly bend your knees and gently begin to open your legs, continuing until you feel a gentle stretch at the top of your inner thighs.
- Breathe. If you have a full day ahead of you, stay here until you feel calm; for night-time exercisers, remain here until your eyelids begin to feel heavy.