By: Michelle Faber, NBC- HWC, EP-C
With gyms and fitness centers closed and races on pause for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, many people I’ve been talking to are struggling to stay committed to daily fitness. Of course there are plenty of non-gym options — from getting out to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful summer weather to outdoor classes, biking, swimming and more. But what happens when the weather starts to cool, the heat is too much, or you’re just looking for a new challenge? Design one of your own! It’s easy, affordable and offers some variety to your fitness routine and goals.
Many of my health coaching clients tell me committing to 30 days is a great way to kickstart a new workout routine. It feels like a manageable time frame to try something new and they love to see results at the end of one month. There’s something so satisfying about seeing the calendar hanging on your fridge as you check each day off – talk about progress you can see right in front of you!
Hanging up your calendar in a central location is also a great way to get the whole family involved. With all of us at home more than normal this year, a daily challenge can be something fun to look forward to when you’re starting to get a little stir crazy or needing a break from too much tech time or the stress of the pandemic.
A 30-day challenge on top of your regular workouts can also give you the variety you may be looking for. For example—maybe you’ve been getting cardio in with walks, bike rides or runs, but you’re really wanting a boost with strength training. Or maybe your yoga classes or weight lifting routines have you feeling strong, but you’d love to burn a few more calories and boost your energy with more cardio movement.
Here’s an example of a 30-day push-up challenge that includes rest days. There are also modifications like knee push-ups, which still give you a great workout. At the end of this challenge, you’ll be amazed at how much stronger you’ll be and how great you’ll feel. Try starting on your knees and seeing how many days it takes to get to full push-ups. Get the kids involved for a little friendly family competition and offer weekly prizes. You can also change the rest days based on your job or school schedule—make it work for you.
Push Up Challenge
Here are some additional challenge ideas for a 30-day time frame. I recommend looking up the proper form of each exercise with a quick online search before doing a challenge to avoid potential for injury.
30-day challenges for your mental health are also a great idea. Try one of these:
Whatever theme you choose for your 30-day fitness challenge, make it part of your back-to-school/busy fall routine. Set a start date, hang up your calendar in a high traffic area, get family and friends involved, and even program a recurring appointment into your digital calendar each day so you don’t forget and can stay committed.
At the end of 30 days, take some time to celebrate by doing something you love for self-care and reflect on your accomplishments and how great you feel. And don’t forget about diet, sleep and other ways to keep living a healthy lifestyle this year.
About the Author: Michelle Faber, NBC- HWC, EP-C is a national board-certified health and wellness coach on the wellness team at Priority Health. She has a passion for helping individuals find their motivation and purpose to make and sustain healthy lifestyle changes in all areas of life. Michelle is certified as an Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine and loves working with people who are managing chronic disease, pregnancy, and exercise in young children and families. She is also an Orthopedic Specialist through the American Council on Exercise.