5 Ways To Stay Active Over Break!
With winter break now here, there are many things on our minds. Getting to see hometown friends & family and getting a true break from ‘work’ are at the forefront for me. One thing lingering in the back of my mind though is how will I stay active over break? As a student-athlete it is necessary for me to maintain my physical strength and endurance over break so that when we come back the whole team can hit the ground running. If I slack then not only will it be noticeable but it will also make the workouts in the spring that much harder to endure. So with that being said, my winter break training plan is something that I think of often. Even if you are not a student-athlete though, I think it is healthy to keep your mind and body active. This has proven to help with overall happiness and productivity.
To explain why these are some of the many benefits gained from working out I did a quick google search so I could provide the exact science behind it. Essentially, when you workout your body naturally increases certain chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid. All of these are associated with feeling happy and less anxiety and stress. As for productivity, according to an article titled Exercise Increases Productivity on Brookings.edu by Robert C. Pozen, “Physical exercise stimulates the development of new mitochondria within your cells, meaning that your body will be able to produce more ATP over time. That gives you more energy to exert yourself physically, but it also means more energy for your brain, boosting your mental output” (Pozen 2012). There are countless benefits to having regular physical activity in your life so it just depends on which benefits really resonate with you.
Below are 5 ways to stay active this winter break that I personally enjoy and find fairly easy to do even with it being just a couple weeks of being at home.
Hot Yoga/Yoga membership
This has become one of my absolute favorite ways of working out. I have done yoga for years but in the past couple of years I have fallen in love with hot yoga. There are many different types, like Bikram with its 26 poses or Power flow yoga with the many up dog down dogs. I enjoy every type of yoga and think that they each can provide different benefits. To me yoga is a very peaceful meditative practice but it also is an incredibly good workout. With the room being so hot, I sweat a puddle every single time. I leave yoga with a relaxed mind but also a body that has been stretched and strengthened. Many yoga studios have great discounts for first time students so I encourage you to try different studios while using these special offers. Once you find a yoga studio you really like then you can buy a package of classes for just the couple of weeks that you are home.
Nature Trail Run/Hikes/Walks with dogs or friends
Another one of my favorite ways of being active is being in nature on beautiful hiking trails. I typically run the trails because I love how it feels on my knees and feet opposed to running on concrete or the treadmill. But if I have my dogs with me or I meet a friend to catch up with then walking the trails is always a good option as well. Something about being in the open air with nature just refreshes me, especially my lungs.
Percy Warner Park. This is my favorite place to go on my nature walks/runs in Nashville.
Probably the most traditional way of working out would be to go to the gym. Some of you may already have gym memberships but for those of you who do not there are many gyms that will provide you with a student discount for a singular membership. I am sure that there are also places that will allow you to get a membership just for the month that you will be in town. The good thing about having access to a gym is that you have so much equipment to utilize. You can run, bike, swim, lift weights, and most importantly for me… erg! That is the main reason why I need to have access to a gym this break is because I need to be able to erg. If you do not know what this is, (it’s okay, many do not) it is the rowing machine. Since I am on the Women’s Rowing team here at Clemson it would probably be a good idea to do some rowing over this break. So with my gym membership I will be taking advantage of the erg machines but also all of the other various equipment that they provide in their facilities. Oh and also the sauna & steam room are nice features that I like to enjoy at the gym as well.
Here’s me on the erg machine at our boathouse here in Clemson.
This one is very specific, because obviously not everyone has a Peloton at home. We do have a Peloton so I will be starting many of my days with a ride to get some cardio in. For those of you who do not have a Peloton, if someone in your family is considering getting one I do think it is a great investment in your health. But that being said it is indeed an investment and everyone has different places they would rather put their money into. So if you do not have a Peloton then just traditional biking is amazing. Going on bike rides around town is a great way to get fresh air in the lungs and get those legs pumping.
This last way of exercise may be simple but it should not be overlooked. While all of the above listed ways are great for you, they can also be somewhat vigorous. So for someone who wants to be active but does not necessarily want to be dripping in sweat everyday then walking is a great option. Taking a morning walk to start your day or an evening stroll can do so much. Just getting your legs moving and also intentionally not being on your phone or glued to another device can be so relaxing for your overall mental. Try and fit a daily or weekly walk into your schedule and I’m sure it will quickly become something you look forward to. I noticed during covid when we did not have access to that many different ways of working out, many people started to walk more. While this is not something that I have included in my routine I definitely see the value and do not underestimate how beneficial these can be for overall health.
Now while some of these include purchases of memberships or equipment, all of these various ways of working out can be done without purchases as well. There are so many YouTube videos for Yoga or at-home workouts that if you would rather stay in the convenience of your home then that is perfectly reasonable too. If you want to stay active this break, these are just a couple ideas to help encourage and inspire you to do so. I hope that everyone has a fun and relaxing break and for those of you that do workout, good job!
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