This 17-time marathon runner shares how MINDBODY and Strava help her track fitness goals and find balance.
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There’s something about September, like January, that prompts us to make a change. Perhaps it’s the colour of the leaves, the slight drop in temperature, the ‘back to school’ signage everywhere or the fact we have just enjoyed the last bank holiday before Christmas. No matter what the reason, the shift in people’s attitude is palpable.
And yes, we’re leaving a long hot summer behind us, but there’s no need to approach the new season with caution—getting back into your usual exercise routine can be easier (and more fun) than you think! Check out our four tips to help you ease back into fitness after the break.
Our recent research reveals that half of the nation believes working out with a friend improves motivation and 57% claim it’s more fun, whilst 49% says it even makes time pass quicker. Scientists have also found that working out with a partner or in groups can boost your mood way more than if you work out alone. In some cases, it can even make you work out three times as long. So make sure you choose someone with a compatible schedule to you or with similar fitness goals to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Gone are the days when the only options we had to exercise were on a treadmill or in an aerobics class. There are so many ways to enjoy being active in 2018, so take advantage of all the different workouts and experiences that are available on the MINDBODY app. From aerial yoga to partying on a bike with Ministry of Sound Fitness, all types of classes can help keep you both mentally and physically engaged, even on the busiest day.
Find a fitness activity you can grow with and one you want to improve at to give you a stronger sense of purpose. “Choose to do something where you can build a new skill and master it over time,” says Gideon Remfy, Wellness Director at KX & KXU. “This is not only better for adherence, but also is shown to create a fitter mind and body. Think big, have fun and remember, exercise is for life—not just for September.”
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. In between prepping for a new term, returning to work and facing a busier commute (because now the whole country is back to it!) it’s likely you might feel overwhelmed. In these moments, Zoe Bertali, from The Refinery, suggests closing the eyes and observing the breath. “When we are aware of our breath we anchor ourselves into the moment, we are able to tap back into the magic of our bodies and find a little gratitude,” says Zoe. “By controlling the breath, we start to calm the nervous system and bring a bit of balance back to the mind and body. Just to be still can be an amazing way of giving the mind and body a little reboot and a chance to clear some junk.”
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.