Exercise Tip: Walk for your Life!
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s easier to stay curled up in bed, rather than drag our body through some intense exercise session. Fortunately exercise does not need to involve lycra bike shorts and a gym (unless of course you want it to). Small amounts of exercise throughout the day can lead to better health, an increase in fitness and fat loss. Even as little as 10 minutes of activity, three times a day can improve your health.
If you have never exercised before or have not exercised for some time, then consider walking. If you are pressed for time then try walking in your lunch break. Ask some of your colleagues to join you. This will keep you motivated, and getting out of the office for a short time will relieve some of your work stress too!
Exercise Tip: Find an Exercise Buddy!
Having a partner can greatly help your chances of sticking to your physical activity goals. Having an exercise buddy provides accountability, encouragement and fun. If you have to meet your partner at a certain place and time for your walk or work out session, chances are you will be there. You would not want to leave your exercise partner all alone would you? If you don’t have a partner who will exercise with you, develop a support team of family, friends or work mates who will encourage you to keep exercising!
Exercise Tip: Vary your workouts to beat boredom!
Like anything that we do over and over again, exercise can become mundane. When you get bored with exercising, you’re less likely to stick to it. Varying your routine staves off boredom, whilst also working out different muscle groups. Make a weekly list of varying exercise routines and also consider what type of exercise you enjoy the most. If you’re tired of walking, try cycling. Consider lifting free weights one day, take a long walk the next and take an exercise class the next. It is also important to be flexible enough to vary exercise times and even the time spent exercising. Exercising at the same time of day can also lead to boredom. For example, you can replace a 30 minute morning routine with a 15 minute morning routine followed by a 15 minute early evening workout.
Exercise Tip: Interval training for better results!
Interval training is when your workout has peaks and troughs in the level of intensity. Interval training can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and raise your body’s potential to burn fat. Try going on your daily walk and walking briskly for 3 to 4 minutes to warm up, then increase your intensity for 1 to 2 minutes before going back to walking slower for 1 to 2 minutes; then lift your intensity again for another 1 to 2 minutes and again lower the intensity for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep following this procedure until you have completed your workout, not forgetting to cool down by lowering the intensity for the last few minutes of your workout. If you are interested in boosting your body’s ability to burn fat, why not talk to a personal trainer who can give you some professional fitness advice.
Exercise Tip: Dance Workouts
Varying your exercise routines will make your workout a lot more exciting. Why not try some Latin, Ballroom or Modern dance classes? This could really spice up your exercise regimen, and keep you fit whilst having lots of fun!
Exercise Tip of the Month: Circuit Style Exercise!
Circuit training requires you to perform a series of exercises, for cardiovascular fitness and resistance, in a circuit. Complete at least three sets of all exercises in a circuit style (where you move through certain exercises, consecutively in a circuit, and without rest, before starting back at exercise one again) for approximately one minute each, depending on your fitness level. Arrange your exercises in order: lower body, upper body, abdominals, lower body and upper body (e.g. squats, seated rows, chest press, bicep curls, tricep dips and sit ups). Try to do the program every second day. On every other day of the week, use a pedometer and aim for at least 12,500 steps.
Exercise Tip: Skipping
Skipping can be a great workout – it’s easy and can be done anywhere! It’s great for muscles both in the upper and lower body, and just 20 minutes of skipping will burn up to 250 calories.
It’s also convenient and a great value for money workout. If you haven’t skipped for a while, just concentrate on getting a good rhythm going and gradually build up from 30 seconds or 1 minute of constant activity to around 10 to 20 minutes of activity. Once you get comfortable, you can start varying your skipping routine by using different techniques, including:
• The Twister: As you jump, twist to the side, alternating left and right, to help with toning your upper body.
• Side Saddle: As you skip, open and close your legs, so that your feet move from approximately 30 cm apart, then together, and back again.
• Knee Lift: As you skip, lift one knee high and alternate with each skip.
• Cross Over: Try crossing arms and wrists, and jump through the rope alternating with normal swings.
• Skipping Backwards: Rotate arms in a backwards motion, and skip backwards instead of forwards.
Exercise Tip: Resistance and Aerobic Exercise – Mix it up!
To get maximum benefit from any exercise program, it is important to combine both aerobic and resistance exercise. Resistance training is any exercise that places a challenging load on the muscles and is generally done at a lower heart rate and for short periods of time. Resistance training increases the formation of lean muscle mass, giving you greater ability to burn fat. When you place a load on the muscle (i.e. lifting weights), you create microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. This stimulates the body to repair the muscle, producing a slightly larger muscle when repaired. The most effective way of doing resistance exercise is to push your muscles enough that they will strengthen and tone, and then rest them for long enough for them to repair (3 to 4 days). Other forms of resistance exercise include calisthenics, Pilates and yoga (where body weight is used to generate resistance), although these forms focus on tone rather than muscle building and don’t require rest periods.
Aerobic exercise is primarily designed to elevate the heart rate, for at least 30 minutes at a time. The most effective aerobic exercise is to vary the intensity of workout from moderate to high during the workout (i.e. interval training).
Regular cardiovascular exercise is essential in maintaining body weight. The benefits of aerobic exercise are that you burn calories plus raise your metabolism for the rest of the day. As a general rule, your intensity should be high enough that you can still talk, but only just. Some examples of aerobic exercise are running, swimming, cycling and team sports.
Exercise Tip: Aqua Aerobics
If you want to do some fat burning, low impact exercise, why not try aqua aerobics? During aqua aerobics classes, an instructor stands on the deck of the swimming pool and demonstrates various arm, leg and abdominal exercises. The classes generally last between 45 and 60 minutes, and start with a warm up session, then incorporate slow cardiovascular and stretching exercises before a cool down. Participants stand in chest deep water and natural resistance from the water leads to better muscle endurance and tone, whilst also getting a cardiovascular workout. This form of exercise greatly reduces stress on joints and ligaments therefore reducing the risk of injury or pain. It is estimated that approximately 500 to 700 calories are burned in a 45 to 60 minute session.