By Jackie Rainford Corcoran, EBS Health Columnist
Last spring I experienced the exercise doldrums. Running wasn’t getting me emotionally stimulated any longer and my body needed a break from it.
So I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried activities like ballet, yoga and forest bathing – a type of nature walk. These changes added new dimensions to my life that I hadn’t anticipated, and I’m grateful for the experiences.
Now, here we are in the late fall when weather conditions are unpredictable. This is a great time to add variety to your life by trying something out of the ordinary. Here are eight compelling reasons to begin a new routine this season.
Stay motivated: Discovering new activities can add freshness to your life while you await the right conditions for your favorite sport, or if you simply need a change of pace. It could take some trial and error, but once you find an activity, teacher or environment that gets you fired up and leaves you hungry for more, you’ll be pleased you made the effort.
Promote a healthy nervous system: If you’re an adrenaline junky and your go-to activity amps up your nervous system, explore practices that are calming and grounding. For example, if you compete in hockey or roller derby, relax during a gentle yoga class or a slow outdoor walk in order to help balance your hormones.
Enhance brain function: Learning new movement patterns and overcoming the challenges of starting something new stimulates your brain, enhancing memory and thinking abilities.
Improve coordination and balance: Changing how you use your center of gravity and creating new mind-body connections enhances your overall balance and can improve performance in your regular activities and daily life. As a runner, I find myself challenged on the yoga mat having to hold poses and getting in touch with the tiniest muscles in my feet.
Avoid repetitive-use injuries: It’s often easy to list the most common injuries associated with any sport or activity. By recruiting different muscles for different movements, overused muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons get time to rest and recover.
Meet new people: Humans are social creatures, so strong connections are vital to our well-being. Making new friends in a healthy environment is good for the mind, body and spirit.
Weather conditions won’t deter you: If you’re anxiously waiting for your next day on the slopes, indoor classes can get off the couch. If you find your current routine keeps you indoors, now is a great time to get fresh air in your lungs and sunshine on your face.
Avoid a weight loss plateau: Our bodies become efficient when we repeat the same exercises over a prolonged period of time. This is beneficial by allowing us to go longer and harder without expending as much energy. But if weight loss is your goal, challenge yourself to adapt to new movement patterns and increase your caloric expenditure.
I hope you’re inspired to try new activities out this late fall and winter. Let me know how it goes.
Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a public speaker and health activist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find more information at thetahealth.org.