Your friends say that you should try out this an amazing new dance craze, your mom swears by her weekly Pilates class and your co-workers are trying to get you to join their running club!
When it comes to exercise there’s almost an unlimited range of options, including hiking, swimming, biking, rowing, and yoga. And that’s without getting equipment like weights, treadmills, exercise balls and ropes involved. We all know that daily activity is good for us, as is eating a balanced diet, getting the right amount of sleep and not skipping meals but how do we decide what’s good for us?
Your body is completely different to everyone else’s yet gyms are keen to promote a ‘one size fits all attitude,’ and in fact, some fitness centers can start to feel like an assembly line as you wait patiently for your turn on the cross trainer! For those who take fitness super seriously such as athletes, being fit isn’t just nice it’s a requirement for them to do their job. After all, did you know that during a game of football players run an average of six miles! This means that the ‘everyday’ approach isn’t going to work, so instead each person follows a carefully thought out fitness regime, a nutritionist-approved plan and has regular sessions with a physiotherapist whose background in sports science helps to reduce chance of injury.
Which leads us to speculate shouldn’t we be focusing more on the individual than the exercise? While personal trainers have become increasingly popular over the last few years not everyone can afford the fees. So for those of us who don’t have the entire staff of Harley Street at our disposal how do we make the changes that will keep us fit and healthy for the rest of our lives? Well, what do you do if you have a medical issue? You go to your doctor or a medical professional. When your bathroom floods you call a plumber or someone specifically trained to deal with domestic leaks and drains.
The point is, instead of listening to family and friends discuss exercise even though they mean well, how do you know they haven’t just cherry picked the information that they believe in and ignored the rest? The best way to take charge of your own fitness once and for all is to do the research. Find out what programs, activities, and exercises would be suitable for your needs and speak to an instructor about how to create a personal fitness plan. You wouldn’t leave your children’s childcare to chance by just picking the first nursery you see so don’t assume that the first trainer you talk to is the one!
Luckily, we’ve taken some of the legwork out of the search for you! Compiling a list of tips, tricks, and advice from medical experts, nutritionists, sports science students, coaches and athletes themselves that should help you to achieve your fitness goals while reminding yourself you’re only human!
It’s Not A Race!
Stop thinking about the people around you and focus instead on your own workout. As long as you feel like you’re doing your very best, that’s all that matters. For some people burning 500 calories is a fantastic day’s work while for others that’s them slacking off. Listen to your own body and how you feel because at the end of the day if you push yourself too hard and have to take time out, the only person’s progress it’ll then affect is yours.
Speaking of progress make sure you plan your workouts. While a spontaneous gym, aerobics or swim session is great once in awhile everyday life has a habit of messing up our social plans let alone time you’ve carved out for yourself to get fit. It doesn’t matter what activity you’re doing as long as you get out there and do it because consistency, dedication and hard work will bring about results quicker than an on / off approach. If you’re new to exercise speak to your doctor before you start a fitness plan but do go for a brisk walk every day. Even just twenty minutes is enough to get the blood flowing, your muscles working and your body used to moving at a quicker pace.
Have A Timetable
Recently, the American Council on Exercise carried out a survey amongst their personal trainers to see what the most important element of a workout was. Data showed that coaches believed the most efficient way to exercise was to mix up sessions so that a couple of days were dedicated to strength and interval training, another to cardio or body core exercises and a day at the weekend for more fun, relaxed activities like bike riding, skating and even surfing.
Bike riding is specifically mentioned because you use different groups of muscles at the same time, as well as getting outside into the fresh air as the saddle improves your posture. For tips on cycling outdoors get yourself to DavidonBike. He loves all things two wheeled and is the true ‘spokesman’ for advice on cycling both safely and efficiently. Don’t forget your aerobic exercises either! A sunrise yoga session will help brush the cobwebs away while heading out to the club for a wild night of dancing on a Saturday night, for sixty minutes or more, doesn’t just burn tons of calories but it also counts as an official form of exercise!
Go For Goals
Take five minutes to write down why you want to get fitter and then take another five to figure out how you’re going to get there! Don’t get bogged down in numbers, or pounds per week just focus on improving your all round fitness and the rest will follow. It’s fine if you can’t run for half an hour yet, you soon will be able to but in the meantime focus on improving times as well as your running technique. Lots of us think that we’ve got the running thing sorted, but actually, there’s always room for improvement whether it’s correcting our stride, pacing ourselves, keeping our breathing in check or not bunching our fists as flat palms will aid speed.
Keep your mini-goals super small. It’s great to want to run a marathon, but perhaps you should focus on completing a circuit of the park first? Get family and friends on board by encouraging them to exercise with you. Remember, you should be able to hold a conversation at the same time as casually walking or running otherwise you’re going too fast and will probably end up feeling dizzy or getting a stitch.
There’s zero point spending hours perfecting your backhand in tennis if you’d rather be out on the open water in a canoe! Choose activities that you enjoy, not anyone else, and don’t worry if you feel nervous walking into a Zumba class for the first time as everyone’s been the new kid. You’ll soon make friends and actually going alone will help you concentrate better, it’s a lot harder to focus on achieving the perfect hip sway when your friend’s busy chatting about how busy she’s been lately. Feeling upbeat helps us physically because when we’re happy we tend to eat less, have more energy and want to push ourselves harder.
Happiness is also infectious, so you may find yourself performing better at work, yelling at your kids less and taking a more laid back approach to life. Don’t forget that you’re the one paying so you should enjoy your chosen activity and if you don’t speak to the teacher afterward to see if they can recommend something different that might be up your street!