Ask Dr. Julie / Health / Health & Wellness / Healthy Eating

Dreary Weather Getting in the Way of Your Summer Body? It Doesn’t Have to…

With Spring right around the corner but we’re still drowning in rain, snow, or any variation of the two, how do we keep our spirits up and our mind firmly set towards attaining our Spring/Summer body?

The key is to focus on what we can do indoors for both our mind and our body.

Half of the battle is keeping our mood and optimism high so that we can keep pushing towards our health goals we had set for ourselves around New Year’s. The other half of the battle is figuring out what we have as resources to achieve these goals while we are stuck mostly indoors, while there is rain and snow outdoors.

First things first, some of the ‘how to stay motivated’ tips I’ve given my patients in my integrative medicine clinic in San Jose, CA, are:

  • Make a list of health goals from most important to least important and put that up in an area where you could see it every day. The exercise of even making that list helps you to keep your health goals in mind and the ranking of goals also helps you to keep your priorities straight and fresh in your mind.
  • Start to incorporate small amounts of time into every day in a feasible way to start to allot time for yourself; whether it’s for meditation, breath work, journaling or exercise, it simply is establishing that your worth your time and that you start to develop a habit of setting aside wellness time.
  • As you become comfortable with setting up one time point in your day to focus on your health, if that is now almost second nature to you, then try to either extend that time or set up another time point to focus on another part of your mental or physical health. For example, perhaps you’ve now set aside 10 minutes in the morning for exercise and that feels natural and good, then build on the momentum of feeling good with that and start another 10 minutes after work or during lunch where you work on meditation or breath work.
  • If you enjoy doing research online, then try researching apps or programs that help you stay motivated or to get you to move into actual exercise classes.
  • If you prefer to exercise or work with others, get your friends to do a meditation group with you or exercise group with you or find an exercise class you can bring a friend along and then make new friends there. Utilize what you know about your motivational factors in your favor.
  • If you foresee obstacles in the process of achieving your health goals, consider journaling about them and brainstorming about how you can overcome these obstacles or make it a fun project or competition for you and your friends to see who can overcome the obstacles and share insights on how it was done.
  • You might want to come up with a list of activities that aren’t traditional exercise concepts and set it up as outings amongst friends to plan to do them for when the weather is nicer then set up group activities indoors to train or prep for the upcoming events.

These are just some of many ideas of how to get excitement up about doing what’s right for your mind and body…but I bet if you sat down and tried to come up with more, you’d come up with even some more great ones. Or better, yet, maybe have a fun get together with friends to come up with more ideas together…that you can all do together.

Secondly, there are plenty of options for working out and staying fit indoors even with minimal equipment. Let’s go over some options:

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions can easily be done indoors without equipment and now there are free apps that have timers you can set up to help you transition between exercises seamlessly. There are also apps that have workouts already set up for HIIT. Some exercises like push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks or air jacks, just to name a few, are easy to do without any home equipment.
  • Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular workout and requires minimal equipment. At first, it may seem daunting since jumping rope can be difficult but over time, you’ll have better rhythm and practice and it’ll get easier. Perhaps start with just doing it only during TV commercials, then graduate into doing them during TV show segments and taking breaks only at commercial time, then when you’re really good, perhaps you can just jump through the entire show including commercials.
  • If you prefer not to do traditional exercise, consider housework chores as exercise. Perhaps, you can set up a goal of cleaning one room in 10 minutes and a timer will go off and that’ll force you to move faster so you can burn more calories that way.
  • If you prefer to work out with a buddy, you can take turns picking indoor workout activities such as if you work together, taking work breaks at same time to run the building stairs or synchronize times to do squats to get blood pumping to your brain so you can also be more creative at work.
  • It could also just be as simple as pumping up the music and just dancing around your house for as long as it’s fun.

At the end of the day, there are always ways to get in some exercise every day even if it’s for 5 minutes or to help yourself be positive and stay motivated…it really just comes down to keeping that a priority in your life.

Just remember, you are worth every minute that you put into achieving optimal mental and physical health. Whether the weather is gorgeous or dreary, the point is that you having great health is the most gorgeous thing; so keep your eye on the prize…a.k.a. you…regardless of whether there is rain or snow outside.

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