Springing Forward!

Kahlil Carmichael MAPCC, MDIV, CPT is the pastor of Live Well Church, in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a fitness specialist at The Fitness Doctor, a fitness and wellness consulting company; and the author of 50 Tips for a Better You. He is a contributor to Guideposts magazine. His first publication, Living Longer Living Better, is available now. Go to www.livewellchurch.org for more information.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest Sun, moon and stars in their courses above. Join with all nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Hello, Spring! As the warm weather approaches with all its wonders, I am reminded of the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”:

Indeed – great is Thy faithfulness! We are part of that diverse witness. The joy of taking in the fresh air with the sun on our faces is unparalleled and must be proclaimed! How about doubling your pleasure by strategically planning outdoor activities to improve your health? The Fitness Doctor has some recommendations!

A. Let’s start with walking. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do and works well for everyone. It is an activity that can be tailored to individual fitness levels. Start as slow as you need to and build! Use a monitoring device to measure your progress. The benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day are legion – improved energy, confidence, mood, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. It reduces stress, clears your mind, and helps manage your weight. Since it is an aerobic activity, walking will also reduce your risk of heart attack. The CDC states that heart disease is the leading cause for death in the US, so strengthening your cardiovascular system is supremely beneficial.

B. Weightlifting (weighted lunges, leg extensions, arm curls, etc.) is necessary to improve your health. Starting with your body weight is fine! But eventually you should include some light weights to take things to the next level. Some benefits of weight training are improved cardiovascular health, improved mental health and joint flexibility, plus it reduces the risk of chronic disease and lowers your body fat.

C. Have you tried yoga? If you think it is lightweight activity, you are incorrect! Yoga is quite a workout, utilizing your body weight to attain certain poses which leads to specific benefits. Increased flexibility and muscle strength, improved respiration and circulatory health, weight reduction, and an improved metabolism. Yoga helps to stretch out and lengthen your muscles, leading to improved balance, core strength, and agility. And it’s fun!

D. Calisthenics like knee lifts, push-ups, planks, jumping exercises, and arm curls can be done inside or outside in the sun and is a very effective workout. The exercises are normally performed with your body weight but can be intensified with dumbbells or a weighted vest. Performing calisthenics can help you move easier throughout the day as the functional movements you perform in the exercises improve your coordination and mobility, reduce aches and pains, burn calories, and can improve long-term health. It is also convenient. Don’t sleep on the old school workouts, calisthenics are tried and true!

Here is a YouTube link to my 12-minute workout you can do 3 days per week. https://youtu.be/E625Kq64XmQ Get familiar with the exercises and take it outside! I hope you will try some of these workout ideas to spring forward into a new, healthier phase!