Change up your Routine with the Seasons: This is particularly true for your outdoor activities. For instance, if you start with walking and swimming in the summer, switch to biking and hiking in the fall, then switch to skating and cross-country skiing in the winter, and finally switch back to biking and hiking in the spring. This approach serves three purposes:
- It keeps you in the outdoors all year long so you get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Clean oxygen and natural light are two of the most important essential nutrients of life. Get lots of both by exercising in the outdoors in nature. Being close to nature is a natural thing for all of us to do.
- By changing with the seasons, you are working different muscle groups and there should always be at least one activity that is weight bearing. In the above scenario, the weight-bearing exercises include walking, hiking, skating, and cross-country skiing.
- When you change up your routine, you tend to look forward to the upcoming season. This is just like it was when you were a kid, if you participated in sports and reaction back then. The switch from swimming to football to hockey to baseball was welcomed.
Be Consistent from Season-to-Season: The whole idea with staying fit is to continue to participate in physical activities, both indoor and outdoor, from one season to the next and so on. In this way, you can ramp up much more quickly for the next set of activities in the upcoming season with a low risk of injury.
Shoot for Ten Months of Activity each Year: If you are heavy into outdoor activities, you may want or need to take a month off in the fall and another one off in the spring due to poor weather and ground conditions. That's alright. You still have your indoor activities to fall back on.
Let's continue with more tips about fitness long term.
Do Not Take A Season or Two Off: This is of prime importance for adults. I have seen way too many serious leg injuries in downhill skiers who decided to ski one season and then be more or less sedentary in the summer and fall, and then jump back onto their skis the following winter, without any preseason conditioning, only to to get injured. For adults participating in occasional sports and recreation, that approach catches up to them, sooner or later, particularly as they age. Why is that?
Because the human body doesn't work that way. You have about 6 to 12 weeks after you shutdown from your activity before the muscle groups that you have conditioned start to regress. So, the gains you made in terms of muscle strength and endurance are being lost over time, and it doesn't take long.
However, when you remain active throughout the year, this doesn't happen. So, when you shutdown for 4 to 8 months, you are opening yourself up for injury because you are partially deconditioned and all of a sudden requiring your body to do too much, too soon. Not a good situation!
Make Fitness a Lifetime Pursuit: Those who are fit and healthy understand this point. If you want to be living with an ageless body while swimming, dancing, and hiking at 100+ years of age, make fitness a lifetime endeavor. With such an attitude and approach to life, you are guaranteed to make it!
That's it for fitness long term. I hope you enjoyed the article and put these practical tips to use over the long term.
That concludes the Fitness Long Term article.