Have you found the post-Easter period a testing time for exercise?
There is nothing like the holidays to disrupt things. My regular gym routine has been thrown out the window these past couple of weeks due to holidays and I have heard plenty of other people telling me how they need to get back on track to where they were pre-Easter.
Why not literally make this week, or the next couple, a testing time. That is, put yourself through a range of physical tests to give you a starting point to get going again.
By getting a starting point you can then plot where you want to be in four weeks, six weeks, three months, or 12 months. By knowing where you are starting out then you can also set realistic, achievable goals.
By the end of autumn, perhaps you want to be able to walk a kilometre, run a kilometre, do one proper push-up, do five proper push-ups ... or something totally different.
And there are plenty of ways you can test yourself. One is a five, 10 or 15-minute run/walk test. See how far you can get now then test yourself on the same course, which could just be around your neighbourhood, in four weeks' time. It is a good way to gauge if your fitness and/or strength is improving.
You can alternatively set a course distance for cycling, walking, walk-running or running, and see how long it takes you to complete it.
If you want to test your strength and gauge improvement over time then you could start by seeing how many push-ups you can perform with perfect technique in an allotted time. Do the same for squats and a plank hold.
Return of events
While some community events are still being the casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, others have made a comeback.
One was NewRun, Newcastle's festival of running, on April 11 and participant numbers swelled to their biggest amount in several years with many craving events after a lengthy absence.
There are plenty of others coming up on the 2021 event calendar, such as the Elephant Trail Race in Port Macquarie in July for those looking to go off road or the Hunter Valley Running Festival the same month.
In August, the iconic City2Surf in Sydney is scheduled to make its return. The Mudgee Running Festival is being held on August 22 and the Dubbo Stampede Running Festival on August 29.
Slowing it down
Not everyone who wants to be active is able to run. With that in mind, Northern NSW Football are holding a Walking Football free come and try event as part of the NSW Seniors Festival at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on April 20.
It is for men and women aged 50 years and over and is a low-impact, team-based exercise utilising the defined Walking Football rules and formats.
It is a non-contact form of the game with players always having one foot on the ground. Walking Football aims to provide participants physical and mental health benefits, social connectedness and access to ongoing physical activity.
Contact your local football federation to see if they also offer a walking football program.
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Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.