Developing Your Endurance and Resilience Through Covid-19

The global pandemic is testing our resilience. When we first realized the seriousness of Covid-19, we were told we needed to shutdown and isolate for 2 weeks to flatten the curve. We are now 8 months into these restrictions and are now experiencing our second set of shutdowns right before the holidays. It’s like signing up for a 5K and they keep moving the finish line so you’re now required to complete a 10K, then it’s a half marathon, a marathon and now you’re finishing an ultra-marathon with no end in sight!

It’s understandable that people are experiencing quarantine fatigue and struggling with our most recent restrictions. We’re exhausted, stressed, anxious and nervous about going through the holidays without our loved ones while trying to stay safe from the invisible enemy.

It’s hard to stay positive but if you can approach the last 6 weeks of 2020 with a plan, it will help you endure. Here’s some tips to develop your resilience:

 

Focus on what you CAN do versus what you CAN’T do

Avoid dwelling on all the things we can’t do and instead create a new normal, a different tradition and something fun to look forward to based on what we still can do. One of my clients who had experienced a spinal cord injury and lost the use of his legs reported that he became a lot happier when he decided to no longer focus on the 1000 things he couldn’t do anymore and instead focus on the 100,000 things he still could do.

Control what you can and accept what you can’t

A lot of what is going on is out of your control, but you can control your attitude and response. Imagine our lives right now as a sailboat. We can’t control the wind, the weather or the conditions. We can only control what we do with our boat. Let’s get through this storm!

Be grateful

Everyday think of 3 different things that you appreciate and that you are grateful for. No matter how bad this is, I bet you can find many things to be thankful for. Perhaps it’s a roof over your head, food to eat, clean water to drink, your health, a job, friends and family etc. It’s always important to remember that for most of us living in a developed country, your very worst day would be another person’s miracle day. Having a gratitude mindset gets us into the habit of looking for the positives.

Breathe

Whenever you start to feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed, stop and start to breathe slow and deep. Just the act of slow, deep breathing helps to evoke the relaxation response and calms your mind.

Exercise

Move your body everyday. It’s important for your physical and mental health, your stress relief and to strengthen your immune system. It can be as easy as going for a walk or taking a virtual class. Moving your body gets your blood flowing and releases our happy-go-lucky endorphins and makes us feel better. This is always important, but even more so during this global health crisis.

Get outside

The fresh air, sunshine (when we can get it) and natural scenery is good for us. Opt for outdoors when you can, even if it’s raining.

Meditation

Download an app like Calm or Headspace and spend a few minutes everyday meditating. It calms the mind and allows us to better manage all the chaos.

Acts of Kindness

Everyday do a random act of kindness. When everything feels so negative, making an effort at spreading kindness and love makes us feel so much happier.

Journal

Everyday write about one positive thing that happened that day. It keeps us in a positive mindset. It’s hard to have a pity party and settle into doom and gloom when you’re writing about something positive.

Your physical and mental health is critical right now. Take steps to preserve your happiness and assure you can come out stronger on the other side of this global crisis.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan


We Are Open!

Northwest Personal Training is NOW OPEN! We are SO EXCITED to see you! For Private Training, you’ll have the option to continue doing virtual training, outdoor training or training at the studio. For Group Fitness classes, you will be able to continue doing virtual online classes (live or saved) and we are also going to host some outdoor programming.

We specific safety precautions that we have in place so please watch this video where I explain everything we are doing to keep you safe.

Here is a link to our Reopening Protocol in detail so you can review closely.

#NWPTSTRONG


 

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Set Your Alarm on the Hour for Tremendous Health Benefits

For those of you who wear an Apple watch, it will give you a reminder to get up and move every hour if you’ve been sitting too long. There’s a strong reason for this. You’ve probably heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking” in terms of negative consequences to your overall health. There is growing evidence that long periods of extended sitting can pose serious physical and mental consequences. Studies have shown that people who sit for more than eight hours daily are at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, back pain and depression. With many of us stuck working from home and students enduring remote learning, the risks are greater than ever.

It’s clear that we need to move throughout the day. One study from the University of Colorado found that walking for 5 minutes every hour during the workday reduces lethargy, improves mood, increases energy and suppresses appetite. Another 2016 study from Stanford University found that taking a short, 5-minute walk on the hour helps enhance brain functioning.

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Anti-Gravity Stretching

We spend all day upright or seated with gravity weighing down on our spines. Our bodies have to work against gravity to circulate blood to all of our tissues, muscles and organs. The cumulative effect over decades can lead to misaligned posture, poor circulation and decreased functioning of our bodies.  

If we can reverse the effects of gravity, even for a few minutes a day, it can do wonders for our circulation, posture and overall health.

We also know that most people don’t stretch enough and are excessively tight as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and/or sitting for extended periods of time. Stretching is often an uncomfortable experience for those who are tight and need it the most so it’s easy to understand why stretching is eliminated from their workout.

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Full Body Muscle Blast

We are all so busy trying to manage all the ramifications of Covid-19 so finding the time for cardio, muscle conditioning and mobility work is more challenging than ever.

Full Body movements are the answer to our prayers in 2020.

Incorporating exercises that combine lower body, upper body, trunk musculature and balance training all into one exercise accomplish three times as much training in the same amount of time.

In addition, Full Body movements teach our muscles to work together as a team as they do in real life situations. During sports, recreational activities or activities of daily living, our muscles have to learn to react, support and oppose each other effectively.

Full Body training is an effective form of training both from a time efficiency and a functional perspective, however, it’s important to learn how to execute each individual movement correctly first and then you can start combining movements.

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Lunge Your Way to Strong Hips

Strong hips will strengthen the integrity of your knees and connective tissue and, ultimately, will enhance your running, climbing, jumping, skiing and overall health.

The best program for strengthening and sculpting any area is to incorporate a variety of exercises that progressively challenge the muscles in different ways.

To strengthen your glutes (hips), a popular exercise is the lunge (static and dynamic). There are a ton of lunge variations and some are better at activating your glutes.

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Is There Magic To The Morning?

Exercise provides countless benefits to your overall health regardless of when you workout. With that said, working out first thing in the morning definitely has many advantages.

Get The Endorphins Flowing

We’ve all heard of the runner’s high. It’s that feeling you get during and/or after your workouts when you feel great. As soon as you start moving, the blood starts circulating and the endorphins, your natural ‘happy-go-lucky’ drugs, start flowing and you instantly start feeling better. Movement creates energy so if you do a workout first thing in the morning, it will energize you and cause you to start your day feeling great versus exhausted or lethargic.

Boost Your Metabolism

When you first wake, you’ve been in a rested, sedentary state for 7-8 hours. An early morning workout will jumpstart your metabolism, and one theory is it will keep you revving at a higher level for hours afterwards.

Less Distractions

Many people find if they workout first thing in the morning and get it out of the way, there are less chances for life responsibilities to distract them away from their exercise ambitions. Early in the morning, you’ll be less likely to be pulled away for an unexpected work meeting, tempted by a social event or needed by your kids.

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Kids Fit For The Fall

No PE, no sports, no recess, no free ability for kids to just go play with their friends…

Kids are struggling. Most are not getting enough movement and their physical health is suffering, which also translates to their mental health. Many kids are anxious, may be struggling with depression and may be experiencing high levels of stress as they try to function with remote learning and not being able to see their friends, teachers and coaches. Exercise can help combat these feelings. The importance of physical strength, mental health, stress relief and strengthening our immune system is critical for our youth, now more than ever! Kids need a positive outlet to manage their emotions and to participate in things that make them feel good and feel a sense of accomplishment.

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Ramp Up Your Fitness to Finish the Year Strong and Healthy

We are entering the last quarter of 2020 so as we wind down the year, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the last nine months.

Recap

It’s a great drill to grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. What are the highlights of the last nine months?
  2. What were the struggles of the last nine months?
  3. What do you wish you would have done that you did not? What opportunities did you not act on that you wish you would have?

 

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Fifty & Fit

Having recently turned 50 years old, it reminded me how important it is for all menopausal women to understand what’s going on in our bodies and do what we can to prevent, reverse or minimize any negative symptoms. It’s also important to note that the entire process can take up to 20 years for some women!

What can you do to manage menopause from an exercise perspective?

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Mall Walking

2020 is definitely making it difficult to stay focused on your health and fitness. Between a global pandemic and now forest fires making the air quality hazardous, it’s challenging to figure out where to go and what to do to get your workout in. Running, biking, hiking and walking outdoors have not been recommended for the last week. If you don’t have access to fitness equipment, are you out of luck? If there’s a will, there’s always a way and mall walking could be your answer when outdoors is not an option.

Depending on the mall in your community, a lap around the mall is easily equivalent to a lap around the track. If your mall is larger, you might be able to get a half to full mile per lap. At the Vancouver Mall, a lap including all the exit halls will get you close to a ½ mile.

To make your workout more challenging, you can include the stairs. For example, you could do the stairs at the start of each lap or to make it even more challenging, you could run the stairs every time you pass a set. Multiple repeats of stairs will drive up the intensity.

To make your workout more interesting, you could add shuffles and agility drills in between poles.

You could even add strength exercises to your workout. For example, you might do walking lunges down one exit lane. You could perform squats at each end. You could do bench pushups or tricep dips.

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