With most people in sedentary jobs the amount of daily exercise that people are taking is in decline. A huge negative to our health. A simple and effective form of exercise is walking. A brisk walk can give you the benefits of going for a jog without the high impact on our joints.
Walking can be a great calorie burner. Increasing the intensity of walking to a brisk power walk you can burn the same number of calories as going for a jog, which can help you lose weight and improve your overall fitness. You can increase the amount of walking that you do within your normal working day.
Government guidelines recommend doing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can be done in one session or split into 2 15 minute sessions. A good goal to set yourself is 10,000 steps every day. I would recommend that you get yourself a pedometer. “You can get many different types of pedometers, from an app that you can download on your phone to a dedicated piece of equipment such as a Fitbit. You may find that they are not 100% accurate but it will give you a good indication as to how active you are each day. See how many steps you do currently. Once you know that you can try and improve how many you take each week. As you can measure this it makes it easy to increase your steps, at first trying to reach the daily goal of 10,000 steps. Then try to improve the amount and intensity of the steps, such as going up stairs, climbing up hills or increasing your speed.”
As well as trying to increase the amount of walking you do each day try and do 1-2 longer walks each week. Newbury and the surrounding areas is great for walking, we have country walks and urban paths to follow. If you are going on an untarmacked route then you may want to invest in some walking shoes. Uneven ground can put a greater strain through your foot and ankle, increasing the risk of injury, investing in some well supported walking boots is highly recommended before you start.
5 places to take a walk in Newbury and Thatcham
Take steps with a friend
Another way of making walking more fun and challenging is to find a friend to do it with. Arrange to go for walks together, this will make you more likely to do it, especially when the weather isn’t sunny. You may want to set yourselves a step challenge. Try to beat each other with how many steps you do each day. A little competition between friends can really help motivate you to do more every day.
So there you have it, an easy and effective way to improve your health that you can do every day. Dig out those walking shoes, get yourself a pedometer and get walking!
Make time to reach for your toes!
Stretching is hugely beneficial to people of all ages, once again something that everyone would benefit from doing. You don’t necessarily need any equipment you just need to make the time to do it. You could do a simple stretching routine or perhaps give Pilates or yoga a try depending on your interests and experience. Many people may only start to do it when something starts to hurt but prevention is better than cure and who wouldn’t like to feel a little more flexible.
Benefits of stretching
There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching. I could bore you with the detail but let’s keep it simple. Everyone could incorporate some stretching into their daily routine here are some of the benefits that you may get should you start stretching regularly. Stretching can:
1. Improve flexibility
2. Reduce muscle soreness
3. Improve stamina and muscular strength
4. Improve alignment, posture, appearance and self-image
5. Allow good muscular and joint mobility.
Ideally you want to stretch your entire body. Be methodical and treat it like any other workout, make a note of your routine and perhaps make notes on the ease of a stretch or how far you can go. If you stretch in a random fashion chances are you will forget what you have done and more importantly you may end up missing an area entirely. Planning also allows for you to focus on a particular area if there is a weakness or something that you want to improve.
This discipline has very much entered the mainstream over the past few years. When done correctly it offers many fitness benefits. With the correct form, mental focus and connection between the body and mind you can see fantastic results. It is something that can be done at home or in a class environment. Form is key so make sure you get someone to show you the moves before you get started. If you’ve never tried it before you may think that it seems like an easy workout that may not challenge you but that is certainly not the case, however fit you may be, you can be pushed to your limits in this controlled environment. Core engagement is a fundamental value of this discipline and something that can transfer into daily life and other types of training or sports. If you are looking for all round fitness then it is definitely something that you should try.
Yoga is another mainstream discipline that can improve your flexibility. As well as flexibility many people use it to aid stress relief as well as to improve their health and physical fitness. It includes practicing postures, breathing exercises and meditation. With a focus on body, mind and spirit it is a form of exercise that many people feel huge benefit from. Again it is advisable to get guidance before starting yoga as in order to experience the full benefit and enjoyment of it, it is important to know what you are doing.
5 stretches for you to try at home:
1. Standing hamstring stretch: bend over, try to reach the floor with your hands and hold.
2. Quadriceps stretch: hold one foot in your hand bringing it up behind you, bring your knees together and hold.
3. Chest/back stretch: bend your arms to 90 degree angles (one up pointing up and one pointing down) then push back as though you are standing against a wall, hold and then swap over.
4. Shoulder stretch: bring one arm across the body and hold it in position with your other arm, hold and then change over.
5. Full body stretch: reach up to the ceiling as much as you can, stretching from the floor right up to the ceiling, you should be able to feel the stretch through your whole body and hold.
These stretches are static so try and hold each position for at least 20-30 seconds before releasing.
You may want to start with a few simple stretches or perhaps you like the idea of giving pilates or yoga a try. Any or all are highly recommended to try. You can start to improve your flexibility, posture and strength today, it won’t take long for you to feel the benefits and touch your toes again!
Any questions get in touch!
Do you want to look good, feel strong and have confidence in your own skin?
Yes? Then you should start lifting weights. Everyone would benefit from weight training. A bold claim, but one I am going to demonstrate by showing you the benefits. Once you see the results that you can achieve by weight lifting you may find yourself wanting to give it a try yourself as regular training can reap many health benefits.
5 benefits of weight training
1. Improves performance. In sport and daily activities.
2. Increases bone density. Lifting weights is a great way to control bone loss as you get older and you are never too old to get started.
3. Promotes fat-free body mass. Lean muscle mass will make you look, feel and perform better as well as aid weight loss.
4. Increases strength of muscles, tendons and connective tissue. Which can lead to improved performance and reduce the risk of injury.
5. Improves body confidence. Feeling strong and looking better will make you more confident.
Common questions and concerns
Why would I want to improve my performance?
Everyone would feel the benefits of feeling stronger. Not just at the gym but it can make it easier to complete simple daily tasks too. Whether you find daily chores a challenge or not get stronger and make it easier.
I don’t want to get big muscles!
One of the most common misconceptions about weight lifting is that if you start lifting you will suddenly look like the incredible hulk. This really isn’t the case. Lean muscle mass is what gives us a tight defined figure if coupled with a relatively low body fat percentage. Building muscle mass is a goal for many people that lift weight but it is by no means the results that everyone who lifts weights get. You have to eat big to get big and if you weight train as part of a balanced, high protein diet it’s the tighter, more defined figure that you will be sculpting.
Should I lift weights?
The simple answer is yes. Depending upon your individual goals the methods and frequency of training may vary but it is recommended that you lift weights. From sports specific training to wanting to look better, you will benefit from the results of training in this way. It’s about finding the right weights routine for you. Give it a try and chances are you may start loving the new challenge of your workouts. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or have never tried lifting before make sure you seek professional advice before you start.
How do I start?
1. Get some weights. You can start at home or get down to the gym.
2. Get professional advice. Make sure you get advice so that you know what you are doing. Knowledge is key so it is vital that you get professional guidance to make sure you are lifting safely and efficiently.
3. Plan a workout routine (or get one designed specifically for you) and get a diary to keep a log of your strength gains.
I have seen fantastic results with my clients who have started to lift weights and they have found a whole new enjoyment in training. Not only that, I have experienced first-hand the difference that weight training can have on the shape of your body as opposed to just doing cardio training. If you are looking for a strong, tight and taut body then without doubt you should give training with weights a go. It can be fun, rewarding and a great challenge!
I hope this information is useful, if you have any questions about anything please get in touch.
Vicki is a Personal Trainer, Coach and Swimming Teacher with the aim of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals.