Bounce back stronger in 2021
Small things you can do right now to make the new year better from the start.
Let’s face it, 2020 was tough. But we learned some things that can make life better in 2021. Most importantly, we learned how vital it is to take care of our mental and physical health to equip us to tackle life’s challenges.
Research shows Canadians have become even more sedentary and isolated than before because of pandemic restrictions. Abby Johnson-Bertran, team and performance specialist with GoodLife Fitness, says the first step to a better 2021 is to get moving, and the holiday season is a perfect time to do it. Johnson-Bertran suggests ways to bounce off the couch and into the new year, stronger than ever.
Fight the sedentary. Even if you’re making time for regular exercise, you’re likely still less active right now because of public health restrictions. Shortly after the pandemic started, a global study found a 27.3% mean decrease in daily steps on wearable devices. Johnson-Bertran suggests little things can make a difference -- stand up during meetings, get outside more, walk to the store instead of driving, and definitely build in some time for regular workouts. Moving more helps boost energy, improves posture and keeps us alert and mentally sharp.
Just start. The longer we’re stuck in pandemic lockdown, the less motivated many of us are to do things like exercise, cook healthy meals, spend time reading a good book or just decompress. Sometimes, you need to stop thinking about it and just start. Leave your workout clothes beside your bed so you’ll put them on and do your workout, find some recipes you want to try, stop doing other things and make time to focus on taking care of yourself.
Set goals and make a plan. Keep your goals manageable, especially when it comes to fitness. Set aside some time for regular physical activity and make sure you work with your natural tendencies. If you don’t like going outside when it’s dark, try a lunchtime walk or run. If you’re more inclined to skip your workout once the day is underway, do it in the morning when you first wake up.
Get help from the experts. Often people don’t exercise regularly because they just don’t know what to do. There are lots of experts available to help you figure out fitness, including live and on-demand online fitness classes for all interests and levels of endurance and experience, as well as pre-set workout programs you can do on your own.
Connect with a community. If you’re feeling isolated, look for ways to join others online or in a safe way outside. Take part in an online (or in-person depending where you are) boot camp or group fitness class. Connect with your friends via videoconference and dance, play a game, or cook a recipe. Or invite one of your family members to do the workout with you. Sharing an experience with others helps you feel more connected and motivated.
Keep going. It takes consistent behaviour and regular rewards to form a habit. With extra restrictions on social activities, you may actually have the time to get started with daily healthy behaviours. Use the extra time at home to try out some fitness classes, do some bodyweight exercises, or just get out and run or walk, then be sure to reward yourself. You earned it.
Abby Johnson-Bertran is available to suggest more small things you can do to build your physical and mental resilience and bounce back stronger in 2021. She can demonstrate quick, equipment-free moves that can be done anywhere during the holidays to burn stress, build motivation and confidence and prepare yourself for the year to come.