Get fit for 2017
A healthy adult devotes at least 150 minutes a week to aerobic activity, according to guidelines published by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. But many of us don’t.
For one thing, the National College Health Assessment survey revealed that only around 37 per cent of Concordia students are meeting recommended exercise levels.
Why wait for the January crush? It’s never too early to start getting in shape. Here are five key pieces of advice from Concordia’s health and fitness experts.
1. Get out of your comfort zone
This may sound obvious, but your couch isn’t the best place to get in shape. Neither is your favourite café.
Why not go ice skating at the Ed Meagher Arena, or join a pick-up game of shinny hockey, basketball or soccer during free time at one of Concordia’s athletic facilities? Le Gym offers classes for almost every fitness level and inclination, from spinning to kickboxing to belly dancing. Registration for winter classes is now open.
“There's no reason not to be active,” says Daniel Roy, Le Gym’s head trainer. “Just playing a sport once or twice a week is a great way to stay in shape.”
Even for certified fitness buffs, it’s important to switch things up. Do you normally stick to strength training? Sign up for kickboxing.
Roy recommends “thinking outside the box a bit.” For example, he suggests trying the new Kung Fu class for 2017.
"It's good to change things up!”
2. Make a plan
Even if you have very little free time, there are always ways to fit in exercise.
“Any physical activity benefits the body, and is better than no physical activity,” says Gabriella Szabo, health promotion specialist at Concordia’s Health Services. “If you can’t do 30 minutes of exercise, can you do 10? And if you can’t do 10 minutes, choose to move more — take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the copier that is further from your desk, and do a few stretches every 90 minutes at your computer.”
3. Set goals
Setting personal objectives is a great way to get results from your workout. “I have a client right now in her mid-forties who wants to be able to do one chin-up,” Roy says. “And she’s making great strides because she’s really dedicated.”
When it comes to being active, commitment is key, Szabo says.“How do we build commitment? One way is to make the goal very important to you by tying it to your values and other life goals — for example, you could remind yourself that taking the stairs instead of the elevator reduces your environmental footprint.”
4. Chart your progress
“Once you’ve set your fitness goals, it’s important to have a way to document them, so you can tell if you’re on track,” Szabo says.
Log the weights you use and the number of repetitions you complete. Count kilometres, minutes, laps and high kicks.
According to Roy, people who are trying to get in shape for aesthetic reasons often spend too much time looking in the mirror for affirmation.
“You want to look good, but that shouldn’t be the main objective,” he says. “You need tangible fitness goals, so you can actually see results.”
A fitness goal should be action-oriented (“I will run for 30 minutes four times a week”), rather than focusing on weight loss or muscle definition.
5. Find a friend
There’s nothing like the presence of others to keep you motivated.
Don’t go it alone. Concordia’s intramural sport leagues start their season in the fall, but creating an atmosphere of positive peer pressure can be as simple as finding a gym buddy or setting up for a session with a personal trainer.
Even professionals like Roy seek outside advice when they build their exercise routines. “I’m probably the worst judge of my own performance and movements,” he says. “And it’s also good for me because I learn things from my trainer, and from my co-workers too, that I can use with my clients.”
Registration for winter 2017 classes at Le Gym opens December 6 at 7 a.m.
Registration for winter term memberships at Le Gym starts on December 13 at 7 a.m.
A term membership at Le Gym is $75 students, $140 for staff, faculty and alumni, and $170 for the general public. Taxes not included. Register today!
Classes at PERFORM gym will start in late January. Check their website for registration details. Memberships at PERFORM have no set start date.
A membership at PERFORM gym is $18.75/month for students, $132 per term for staff, faculty and alumni, and $165 per term for the general public. If students want a term membership, it's $75. Taxes not included.
Student Services has health promotion specialists who can help you on your journey to healthier living. Contact them to book a free appointment.