WHEN famous poet Emily Dickinson wrote “I dreaded that first robin so”, in reference to her dreading spring’s arrival, I don’t think it was due as much to her melancholic state (as has been long believed), but more so due to the fact that she had hibernated all winter and was then freaking out knowing she only had 12 weeks to get her bikini body in shape for summer.

You might also be welcoming spring with mixed emotions this week, but don’t stress too much – chances are you are not alone. Yes, it’s great to finally see some warmer weather and more sunlight hours in the day, but the thought of having to shed layers of clothes is probably enough to freak out most of us.

SPRING LOADED: Warmer weather encourages us to be more active.

Training or exercising in winter is hard and so is trying to eat well. I know plenty of people who feel like they have added an extra layer to their body through winter and I like to think that that’s the body’s way of insulating itself for the colder weather.

I don’t know if that has ever been researched but I did read an interesting article last week which referenced the NSW Food Authority and said the majority of us do tend to put on weight in winter because we exercise less and tend to go for comfort food.

So don’t beat yourselves up too much – just look at spring like the perfect time to get started with eating healthier and starting to move more. And why wouldn’t you, with the weather the way it has been for the past week?

I have definitely noticed more people out and about in the wee hours of the day and again of an evening.

If you are like me and are planning to take part in Run Newcastle – a community running/walking event being held around the Foreshore to raise money for the adolescent ward of the John Hunter Hospital on November 10 – then you may have already been doing a couple of training sessions a week in preparation.

If you are looking for some training ideas, you could try one or both or these sessions and modify the intensity and duration to suit your level of fitness:

Session 1 (running/walking): find a football field (rectangular in shape). Try walking the width of the field then jogging or walking faster the length and just keep working your way around the ground, making the lengths your working sections and the widths recoveries. Try to keep the times of your working efforts similar and you can adjust your recoveries depending on how you are feeling. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your level of fitness, and as always, include a warm-up and cool-down.

Session 2 (cross-training incorporating strength with cardiovascular fitness): You can also do this one at a football field or even just in your backyard. Pick out six to eight strength exercises – for example, squats, push-ups, lunges, rows, biceps, triceps, ab curls, glut bridge – and perform 10 of each interspersed with running or walking in between each exercise.

And, as it is getting warmer, make sure you are drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercising.

So stop stressing about a winter of overindulgence or little exercise and just get out there and start moving – before summer gets here!

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal trainer and mother of two [email protected]杭州夜生活m