Spring into Action
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” As summer creeps closer, many of us are panicked by the weight gain and sluggishness that occurs through the winter. We seem to hibernate within the gloomy season and as summer arrives, wonder how we shape up to fit into our shorts and bathing suits. As Dr. King once said, “Have faith and take life one step at a time without getting too ahead of ourselves.”
There are many ways to improve ourselves and spring into action.
Find Your Inner Zen
Yoga is one example of a great way to center your mind and tone the body. While this is not for everyone (myself included), many find the mind/body connection that yoga offers to be a life saver. In the Michiana area, there are numerous classes offering yoga for all levels. The Tree of Life Yoga Center in Elkhart is one example of a studio that offers a calm environment in a retreat-like setting and a multitude of classes, some with a sliding scale fee. If you are already a yoga fan, check out the Michiana Yoga Association to step up your game and attend one of their informative workshops. Additional local places are Solace Yoga Studios in Mishawaka, Beyond Zen in Granger, Spacious Heart Yoga in Goshen and many other great locations!
“I Like To Ride By Bicycle!”
Another way to spring into action is to grab that dusty bicycle in your garage and go for a ride. This area has many options, from a casual three mile paved ride to a more intense mountain bike experience for those looking to challenge themselves even further. Potato Creek State Park’s 3.3-mile paved trail travels through forest and prairie. This park also has a 6.6-mile loop of single track that’s great for mountain biking beginners. If you are wanting something more urban, the 5-mile Riverwalk connects South Bend and Mishawaka downtowns via a loop along both banks of the St. Joseph River, over Kamm Island and past manicured parks. This is a popular trail however, so weekends may get a little crowded. Always remember to wear a bike helmet too. Safety first!
Try Running In A Marathon
While the trails are rather non-existent in the Michiana area for running, races seem to be the thing to try in this area. Many of the races are for any level and beginners are encouraged to join. Completing a race can get a person motivated to join another one, and maybe another. The sense of accomplishment when completing a race is as good for the mind as it is for the body. Tour de La Porte, in La Porte, is one example of a random race with multiple levels, from a kid’s run to a full marathon length run for the very fit, and every level in between. The grand event occurs on August 25 so one could spend the entire spring and summer training for this race. For more information on this race and any other local races, go to www.localraces.com . When starting a training for a race, be sure to get the “ok” from your physician first.
Take A Walk
Not into running? How about simply walking? If you are looking for a simple exercise that will take 30 minutes out of your day, this might be for you. Think that walking will not help you lose weight? Think again! If you weigh 150 pounds and walk uphill for 30 minutes at 3.5 mph every day for one week, you will burn 200 calories. Multiply 200 calories by 7 days, for a total of 1,400 calories. In four weeks you will have burned 5,600 calories. This equals a weight loss of 1.6 pounds in four weeks. Obviously, if you increase the time, you increase the weight loss. Walking is a great way to kick start you into action this spring and you can do this anywhere.
Just Keep Swimming
If you are into burning the calories more quickly, swimming is the best low impact exercise to shed pounds and tone up. In the Michiana area, the YMCA might be the best indoor option there is. There are many times available for their open and lap swims, and many classes offered for swim lessons or water aerobics. Visit their website at www.michianaymca.org to find the closest YMCA to you as well as their fees and schedules. If you are looking for a more beach like environment to frolic in, Warren Dunes is about a 35 miles drive and well worth the commute to get there. In fact, any beach along gorgeous Lake Michigan would be a great place to walk, run or swim.
Springing into action this season means different things to different people. We all have individual goals we would like to meet and lucky for us, the Michiana area gives us ample means to do so. With some motivation sprinkled with determination, we can all meet these goals this year to ensure a healthy and happy you.