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Dr. Ben Connolly

Exercise - Get out of the winter slump!

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Kayaking at sunset. During the winter, it can be tough to keep up with regular physical activity. Our East Coast climate, while beautiful, isn’t the most agreeable for those of us who like exercising outdoors. The inner couch-potato likes to come out during the colder, rainier seasons and that can leave us feeling tired and stressed.

With Spring right around the corner it’s time to break free of the winter slump and get ready to make the most of the warmer weather! That means setting fitness goals, creating good habits, and spending more time outdoors.

Setting fitness goals that make sense for you

Being ‘active’ means something different to everybody. It’s important to find out what level of physical activity works for your lifestyle and makes you happy. Some people do daily yoga, others go out for weekly rock climbing sessions - what would be your ideal exercise schedule? Plan it out using the SMART system - Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Time Bound.

Take the time to set up a thorough fitness plan for yourself - the more thought and energy you put into it, the higher the chance you’ll stick to it down the road!

Practice makes permanent

In order to follow through with a fitness plan, you’ll require some additional habits that go beyond the act of exercising. A healthy diet and sleep schedule are essential for keeping up with regular physical exertion, and developing the habit to make dinner instead of buying fast food takes dedication.

There are a number of ways to create healthy habits. Having daily reminders on your phone helps you to stay vigilant, and writing down the reason why you’re creating a new habit can help to refocus your efforts. One thing you should certainly do when making habits is tell someone. Having a friend help you along the way, or join in, is a great way to make the process a lot more enjoyable and realistic.

Creating habits takes hard work and a lot of willpower. In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (which I recommend you read!) Charles Duhigg confirms the challenges of tendency tinkering: ‘Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.’

Get outdoors!

Nova Scotia’s landscape is a haven for outdoorsman and women alike. During this spring and soon summer be sure to get out there and enjoy all our province has to offer.

The Nova Scotia website has a huge list of beautiful places you can check out for hiking, kayaking, camping and cycling. There’s nothing like a good old fashioned weekend hiking trip to get the blood pumping. Afterwards, you can always stop by for a massage!

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