Spring into Spring

Words: Gemma Dawkins

If the longer days, warmer temperatures and the scent of jasmine on the air weren’t enough to give it away, Spring has well and truly sprung. Finally! If you hibernated your way through winter, you may be feeling an unfamiliar urge to move your body, start blending up green smoothies and take your lunch break outside in the sunshine. If you barely recognise yourself, science backs you up.

During the winter months, it’s common to experience a drop in motivation and even mood. Commonly referred to as the ‘Winter Blues’, or sometimes diagnosed as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)’, this is thought to be caused by a lack of hormones including melatonin and serotonin, typically produced through exposure to sunlight. Makes sense! That new-found spring in your step could be down to the simple fact that increased daylight has your brain pumping up the production of these vital neurotransmitters – which is great news for your mojo.

But if you haven’t hit the barre for a few months, too much too soon can actually set you back. Injury, burnout and simply overdoing it can quickly derail your best laid plans for a summer bod, so it’s important to be sensible about your return. So how can you harness this peppy Springtime energy and safely ease yourself back into exercise? Here are our top five tips:

  1. Join a program

Not sure if you even remember how to do a plie, it’s been so long? Don’t worry, muscle memory will kick in and you’ll likely find that your body remembers what your brain doesn’t seem to. However, it’s important to make sure you’re under good guidance when you’re returning to exercise. One of the best ways to do this is to join a program or fitness challenge, so that for the short-term at least, everything is mapped out for you. You won’t need to worry about anything except showing up and following along. And we have good news – our ever popular BodyLove Challenge is just around the corner with a special Spring program, launching October 30. You can find out more and sign up here.

  1. Make a plan

If you can’t schedule in a challenge or pre-designed program, it’s important that you put some thought into your exercise plan, especially for those first few weeks. Sit down with your calendar and physically diarise your planned workouts. This way you can be sure you’re booking yourself into a good balance of classes (6 HIIT classes in your first week back is a recipe for disaster), as well as planning to gradually up the frequency and intensity. As an added bonus, you’re also more likely to complete your planned workouts if you add them to your calendar.

  1. Get outdoors

It’s the perfect time of year to make the park or beach your playground! Research shows that outdoor exercise packs some serious benefits, and if you’re in Australia you’ll know that now is the time to breathe in the fresh air before summer makes it so humid you’ll practically be drinking it.

  1. Nourish your body

It’s perfectly natural to crave dense, carb-heavy comfort foods in Winter, so now is the time to take advantage of the likely changes in your palate. Spring is the time for new beginnings, as well as the time for bountiful fruits and veggies, so spring clean your menu and pack those nutrients in. You’ll notice a huge difference in your energy and your overall vitality, which is so important when you’re diving back into regular exercise.

  1. Track your progress

When you’re months into a fitness regime, it’s easy to lose sight of where you were when you started. But studies prove that tracking your progress is actually a vital step in keeping you motivated. If you’re a Barre Body member, you’ll know little touches like our Move of the Month will see you watching your improvement as you work on a particular step or exercise over a month. If you’re on your own, set yourself some weekly and monthly goals, take note of your progressions, and make sure you reward yourself every step of the way!

Word to the wise: this is also typically the time of year when classes are suddenly much fuller – so make sure you book your spot for some Springtime barre!