Every grown-up has a similar pang of nostalgia — or panic — when summer fades into fall and kids start heading back to school.
Going back to school each September is such a significant part of our formative years. Being a student is the time when most of us develop our strongest organizational and other positive habits, building the blocks that prime us for a lifetime of continuous learning and personal achievement.
So, it’s no wonder that we feel this annual urge to make positive change and shift from lazy days of summer to a more productive and structured routine. That is what puts many of us in the perfect mindset come autumn to start — or restart — healthy fitness and nutrition habits.
Here are a few ways you can feel like a kid again and apply some healthy back to school strategies to your fitness and nutrition plan.
Follow a proven curriculum.
When it comes to starting out in fitness, unless you are a fitness professional or a nutritionist, don’t go it alone. Sign up for something that interests you and has a structured program you can follow. Just like sitting in a classroom without a teacher, If you join a gym and don’t know what to do there, you’ll probably fail and drop out. So, find a gym (like Koko FitClub) that has a specific approach to fitness and offers coaching, and do a monthlong trial. Sign up for a package of weekly yoga or spin classes. Or, join a local running club. Just like school, having a plan, with teachers and coaches to guide you, and classmates to cheer you on, will help you succeed in building a new healthy habit.
Buy a new lunchbox.
Seriously. The first day of school might be scary, but having a super-cool, super-hero lunchbox filled with a healthy lunch lovingly made for you can make it all feel better. If you want to change the way you eat, you’ll do better on your healthy eating plan if you map out your daily meals and snacks. Having a tricked out cooler bag with compartments and containers for all your greens, dressings, snacks and proteins will make bringing your lunch more palatable.
Make time for recess.
Just like students, grown-ups feel stressed and need a release. If you have kids, make time to play with them. Kids can get a little wound up in the early evening. Channel that. Surprise them with a full-house pillow fight. Challenge them to a game of flashlight tag after dinner. Get outside and play catch. Run with them. Move with them. Thirty minutes of fast-paced playtime can burn 80-110 calories or more. Don’t have any kids? We are all big kids at heart. Take 30 minutes and go for a run, walk or bike with a friend or your partner. It’s all about “getting the wiggles out” and burning calories while doing it.
Go back to school shopping.
Remember the goofy first-day-of-school-outfit you picked out as a kid? Feeling confident in what you wear to the gym can help you feel more confident about tackling a fitness plan. The industry is exploding with fitness apparel and shoes. Invest in durable items that fit you well and are appropriate for your particular type of fitness. Don’t forget your backpack!
Wishing you and all the students in your life a happy and successful Back to Fitness Season!
– Lauren Dell’Olio, Managing Editor