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"Make Each Step Count" Community Challenge - Week 5

Tiffany Tiffany May 28, 2021 0 Comments General Health

I can't believe how close to the finale we are! These days have been flying by (Which they do say, happens when you're having fun!)

As we've discussed over the last few weeks through these blogs and education, exercise can have a great and lasting affect with mental health, stress, anxiety and even your self-esteem and how you view situations. One of the cool, albeit frustrating, components of starting or continuing an exercise regime is the body's way to adapt and build muscle memory to the exercises you are doing. This sometimes shows up in the form of a plateau-on the scale, with trying to speed up your mile time, or with building muscle and boy oh boy can it be frustrating!

I like to be a glass-half-full type of girl and have experienced my own fitness plateaus throughout the time I have spent training for races or making adjustments to my health.

 

You can approach this two ways:

  1. "Ugh, this stinks and nothing I'm doing is working, so I'm just going to quit and go back to my old habits. It's not like it matters anyways, because my body isn't going to change more". (Ok, I really hope you don't think that way!
  2. "This plateau is frustrating, but maybe this means my body is ready to make changes and I can take my workouts to a higher/different level and give myself a little push."

It's REALLY easy to get into a fitness rut, by doing the same things over and over again-we like comfortable and we like what we know, but because our body is smart, we do have to be okay with breaking out of our comfort zone and allowing ourselves to make those changes.

The American Heart Association has an easy-to-follow principle called "F.I.T.T" that helps give guidance on how you can make changes to your routine to help break out of your rut and plateau. F.I.T.T stands incorporating one of the principles at a time:

  • FREQUENCY (how often) aim for 3-5 days a week
  • INTENSITY (how hard) aim for 65%-90% of your heart rate max OR with the target heart range for your age
  • TIME (how long) 20-60 minutes a session OR 150 minutes a week
  • TYPE (what exercises) cardiovascular: walking, jogging, biking, swimming, etc.

A few other ideas to help you break through a plateau include:

  • Cross-Training
    • Incorporate exercises out of your normal routine, which can help you from getting bored and it can help you use different muscle groups that you are not used to.
  • Strength-Training
    • Using weights, body weight or resistance bands creates a different dynamic for your muscles, bones and overall body, and can help you build/tone your muscles which may mean an increase in metabolism.
  • Recovery Time
    • It sounds counter-productive, but your body does need time to recover, recoup and rebuild and sometimes when you're doing TOO much, your body gets in a funk and can't catch up. Allow yourself rest days throughout the week or perform light cross-training on the days opposite of your harder workouts.
  • Talk to your Provider
    • Your provider will be able to give you insight if certain medications you are on or other health conditions may be to blame for your plateau in weight or other exercise-related components.

It can definitely be hard to see changes made to your body and then all of a sudden, nothing happens. It can be even more difficult to continue with your efforts, but it's important to remember that exercise provides many, many benefits to your physical body and you mental health, that sometimes aren't reflected on the scale or with how you are basing your workouts. Remember, each step DOES count!

Until next week!

Source:
A. (2018, April 18). Overcoming a Fitness Plateau. Retrieved March 30, 2021

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/staying-motivated/overcoming-a-fitness-plateau