Thursday, August 23, 2012

Maintaining your Summer Fitness Gains

Many of us have been taking advantage of this hot summer to exercise and further our training goals, so with fall just around the corner, how can we maintain the fitness gains we worked so hard to attain?  Consistent commitment to any exercise training involves a lot of motivation, effort and hard work that we don't want to see decline over the winter months.

Long-term exercise training has many benefits for the human body:
  • increased aerobic power
  • lower body fat
  • muscle strength
  • endurance
  • and an increase in flexibility 
 One of the most important factors that influence fitness gains is the exercise dosage which refers to the intensity, frequency and duration of your workouts.  Studies have shown that fitness gains can start to decline in just 1 to 2 weeks after training stops.  While this may seem a little discouraging, studies also show that if you continue to exercise at a reduced volume but at higher intensities you can maintain your fitness gains.

Tips for staying active:
  • Choose activities you enjoy, this will help you stay motivated
  • Prepare for inclement weather by wearing the appropriate clothing, reflective clothing if exercising in the dark
  • Use this opportunity to try something new, like archery or a dance class
  • If weather keeps you indoors, try active play video games
  • Get online and see what's going on in your community
  • Be creative with your workouts, try a hula hoop, running up and down your stairs, or mall walking
  • Allow for proper recovery, this is a big factor in maintaining enthusiasm for exercise
Just because summer is winding down doesn't mean giving up all that hard work.  With a little motivation and creativity we should all be set to tackle another summer when it comes around again.  

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Block P, Kravitz L. Tailoring Nutrient Intake to Exercise Goals OPTIMIZE MUSCULAR FITNESS GAINS WITH PERIODIZATION-SUPPORTIVE NUTRITION. IDEA Fitness Journal. September 2006;3(8):40;48-55.
2. Cross-train for big fitness gains. Backpacker. May 2009;37(4):44.
3. Karp J. A primer on periodization training: how to help clients optimize fitness gains by varying training loads and rest periods. IDEA Health & Fitness Source. May 2000;18(5):23-26;28-29.
4. Fitzgerald M. Recovery-based training: sure, training is important, but make no mistake about it - your fitness gains happen during the recovery phase. Follow these 10 tips for elevating the recovery process and spiking your results. Triathlete. January 2003;(225):76-78.
5. Swank A. Clinical Applications. Maintaining Your Fitness Gains: When Less Really Is More. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. July 2012;16(4):35-36.

1 comment:

Jessica Staheli said...

A lot of people really do forget about their fitness during the summer time.. I never thought about that!