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Don’t give into pressure to start a fad diet or overexercise; instead, get fit in a way that feels right to you
Fall is like a soft launch for New Year’s, without the pressure to go hard on one big resolution. It’s a good opportunity to get "fit" in your own way and on your own time. In other words, it can present a far healthier and more sustainable approach to getting the results you want.
Getting fit means something different to everyone and often carries a whole lot of baggage. We tend to focus on what we look like on the outside, rather than how we feel overall. We’re told to pay attention to the big two—diet and exercise—without getting to the root of why we feel unfit to begin with.
Here are some ways to think differently about getting fit this fall, with an invitation to sift through and select one or two that best suit your goals...
1. Take an audit
Summer is often filled with travel and endless events. It’s also a complex time of year that tends to wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. Start your seasonal transition by assessing where you’re at with your physical and mental health. It’s tough to find a free and reputable tool online. A safer bet is talking to your doctor or trainer about a diet and exercise audit, which will likely involve journaling your activities for at least one week.
2. Talk to your doctor
Can’t sleep at night? Concerned about being a caregiver? Unsure about how to protect your sexual health? Your doctor is a fantastic resource who also happens to be objective and required by law not to disclose what you tell them. Certain things, like HPV (human papillomavirus) infections, are widespread—about 3 in 4 sexually active Canadians will have it at least once in their life—but rarely get brought up at the doctor. Those questions that you’ve been asking Google or WebMD could be shared with someone who has the benefit of context.
3. Engage your core
Your core supports you and plays an especially vital role in your back health. Here are three things you can start doing today:
- Place a rolled-up towel between your chair and your lower back to create a natural curve.
- Set a timer every 50 minutes to remind yourself to get up and move.
- Before you settle back into work, take a minute to breathe and engage your core.
Imagine your abdominals as an elevator, with the base of your pelvis being ground floor. As you exhale, contract your abdominals up to the third floor, which is around your belly button. This will engage your transverse abdominals, which act as a girdle for your body and lay the foundation for a healthy core.
4. Cook heart-healthy meals
Dieting isn’t just a regime to lose weight, but a customizable tool to help you gain better overall health. Whether you’re looking to placate your tummy pains, improve your hair health or take better care of your organs, dietary shifts are often a first step.
Take your heart, for instance. An important organ in the body, your heart has a fondness for polyphenols, a micronutrient found in plant-based foods and tea. While research is ongoing with respect to which foods our bodies can best make use of, there’s solid consensus that upping your intake of these items can give your heart a healthy advantage.
5. Hydrate your skin
Did you know that your skin is the last organ of the body to reap the benefits of drinking water? Hydration can provide an anti-aging effect, smooth your complexion and ward off unwanted blemishes. All good things, particularly after the sun damage of summer and harsh transition into drier weather. Remember, however, that moisturizing isn’t the same as hydrating. Look for hydrating products that replenish water content to the skin.
6. Make time to think without distraction
How do you build thinking into your day? One solution is to bake it into your daily routine. Create a morning routine that includes a set amount of time for thinking or take it a step further and block off 15 to 30 minutes in your calendar each day labelled “thinking.” It might feel silly at first, but keep with it and see what happens.
7. Indulge a little
It’s easy to get distracted with back-to-school and the upcoming holidays, but take a moment for you this fall. The world doesn’t end when you drop the ball. In fact, you tend to gain clarity and energy for the work that you do want to do. So, be a little self-indulgent. Buy a new hand cream, carve out time for yourself and read that book that you’ve been eyeing.
Being fit is more than just diet and exercise. It’s about creating habits to support your body, mind and personal goals. A period of transition, fall is a great time to try new things. In fact, it may just become your new favourite time of year.