Stretching Our Minds and Bodies for Strength

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Being physically active has many benefits. It can help you lose weight, and improve your energy and mental health. A common trap that we all fall into is doing the same type of exercises for weeks and months on end. It’s natural for us to want to stay in our comfort zone, but the consequences are missing an opportunity to increase our fitness range and strengthen different parts of our body.

I enjoy cardio and weightlifting. When the gyms were closed due to COVID, I had limited access to equipment for these activities. When I decided to try an online Pilates workout, I thought to myself, “okay this might be challenging but I’ve totally got this.” But I didn’t have it, it had me! The workout was more challenging than I thought because it challenged my body in a different way than my normal weightlifting and cardio routine. It was a humbling experience that showed me how I can further improve my core strength.

Expanding our fitness palette may reveal weaknesses and imbalances in our bodies.

If strength training is not part of your routine, consider putting it in. It’s very important, especially as we get older, as it helps us maintain muscle and bone strength, and can help reduce the risk of injury due to a fall. If you already strength train, you may notice that one side is weaker than the other. If you’re more familiar with doing bilateral exercises (using both sides of your body) such as a squat or barbell bicep curl, try incorporating unilateral exercises (using one side of your body), such as a reverse lunge or a step-up. These types of movements help to improve your stability and balance while helping exercise both sides of your body equally.

What’s the takeaway?

Change things up! If Wednesday is your 5k walk or run day, try a yoga, dance, or pilates workout instead. Let’s keep our bodies moving, get outside our comfort zone, and not miss an opportunity to get stronger.