When you think of spring training, you might think of baseball teams going to warm weather places to train for the upcoming season. Even if you’re not on a baseball team, and whether you exercise or not, you are in spring training too. If you practice movement this season, your body will get better at movement. If you practice not moving, your body will adapt to that too. While most sports have an offseason and a training season, you are always in training for being healthy and well — or not.
With our use-it-to-keep-it bodies, what happens in your body while you wait for spring determines how you will feel on that first nice spring day. Your body could either lose stamina or gain it. It could get weaker or stronger. It could stiffen up or gain more freedom of movement. It could be completely drained from stressful events that happen in the winter, or recharged from shedding stress each day so it does not accumulate. It all depends on how you wait.
This is not to guilt trip you into exercising — quite the opposite. It is a reminder about the invisible processes that happen in our body in every moment. Based on those before and after pictures that flash before us on social media, it can seem like ‘getting in shape’ happens in an instant. As anyone in those photos will tell you, the change is slow, gradually happening moment by moment. What happens between the before and after, and what happens after the ‘after’ photo, all depends on what you give your body every day.
It would certainly be easier to be ready for spring if you could go to a camp some place warm, with all the equipment and trainers you could ever need pushing you to be ready for spring. That type of spring training is not built to last, though. Those baseball players will retire someday and be like the rest of us who just want to be healthy and well. My guess is they, like you, don’t want to retire from being healthy and well. .
The change of seasons is a great time to pause and consider what you are training for this season that you will reap in the next season. I am talking not only about yearly seasons, but seasons of life as well. A birthday, a new medical diagnosis, a lifestyle change are all a great time to pause and consider what you are telling your body you no longer need and what you are asking it to keep.
Think forward to that first nice spring day. Gardening, biking, hiking — what is your passion? Whatever you do, will your body be ready? That all depends on what you do while you wait for spring to come. Take a moment and create your spring training plan.
- Step 1: Draw a picture or write a list of all the activities you want to enjoy in the spring
- Step 2: List what you need for those activities: strength? stamina? mobility?
- Step 3: Make a plan for practicing having the stamina, strength, and mobility you need. Keep it simple and doable. Most important, make it a way to shed stress each day, so it does not build up. (Click here for my blog with information about how to Exercise Right for your body)
Now that you have your plan, go start your spring training!
Bottom Line: Rethink Exercise as the kind of year-round self-care that is about sustaining your well-being through all the seasons of your life.