Updated: Jun 1
Let’s face it, summer in Montana is drawing to a close. Kids are pulling out backpacks and school supplies, those awkward tan lines are fading, and stores are ALREADY lining their shelves with Halloween candy. As the sun starts setting earlier, nights get colder and all your favorite TV shows return, it is a great time to let go of beach body you worked so hard the past few months to get…right? Well that’s about as accurate as thinking the earth is flat anyway.
Sure, when I was younger, I focused on health and fitness primarily during summer months because I loved a toned beach body. But as I work my way further into my fourth decade, wellness has become less about just looking good and more about health benefits like combating depression and being able to continue the activities I enjoy pain free. I only wish I had realized the non-aesthetic rewards of wellness in my younger days so I had more time to practice healthy behaviors before I got to the age when metabolisms slow. No matter what age you are now, dear reader, do not fear. I am here to inspire you in the year round pursuit of health.
Therefore, as schedules slow and routines re-emerge this month, I encourage you to leverage the back-from-the-holidays-feeling September brings with it to focus on a new wellness goal or two. I mean, we make health and fitness resolutions in January, so why not in September? This is a perfect time to take charge and get things done…and I have goal achieving techniques to help you.
One technique I will be using with my clients from month's boot camp is asking them to define why a goal is personally meaningful. For example: Since the pace of life typically slows post-summer, an obvious goal is to squeeze in more exercise. Take a moment to understand why that is an important goal to you. Maybe it’s because you do just want that beach body year round and, hey, I totally get that. But also consider that exercise can help brain health and memory. Now that school is back in session that will come in handy to those of you with teens needing help with algebra homework. Exercise also makes you happier (hello, endorphins). And it reduces risk of heart disease (goodbye heart attacks and strokes) - so if you can’t do it for yourself, focus on doing it for those who love you.
Another technique to help your stick-to-it-ness is to make your goal extremely specific – even defining the process to achieve your goal. For example, a goal such as “I will attend a weekly barre class two times per week and lift weights before breakfast on Saturdays” is better than “I will exercise more.”
When defining your goal, keep in mind the recommendations from the American Heart Association on exercise frequency. Adults should be aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (half that (75 minutes) for vigorous-intensity physical activity), AND at least two days per week of moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening activity for all major muscle groups.
If you have your fitness all dialed in, I still encourage you to make some sort of goal this month. Get to bed earlier. Focus on getting more veggies and lean protein into your diet. Look into taking a probiotic. Connect with your inner circle more. Start a gratitude journal. Reduce your exposure to toxins by changing your household cleaning chemicals or switching to organic produce. There are many dimensions of wellness that go beyond fitness…and there are strategies to help you achieve those types of goals as well.
One strategy is to predict obstacles that may stand between you and your goal. For example, I know that if I start watching television very late, I get sucked into a TV show and stay up past my bedtime. So, no TV after 8:30 pm, check. Also, I have a terrible weakness for cookies and candy so I ask my husband to hide the sweets from me and he is game. If you are prone to skipping out on your workouts, invite a friend so you won’t be inclined to cancel.
September is a month full of promise and a perfect time for self-improvement. So, even if you gave into last month’s temptation to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, do not despair. Setting a wellness goal will help get you back on track and can serve as a celebration of the opportunities this new month brings. I invite all Montana women to join me in this celebration of the elevation of your health and fitness. That is the real levitation experience, after all.
Mindy is a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health & wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. Mindy is also founder of Kalispell’s Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase “fitness is fun” is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. For more about Mindy, please visit: https://www.levitationnation.org/mindy.