Sunshine, golden sands, cool blue seas, long Summer evenings and … “Oh no I am so unfit”and… “I haven’t done any exercise for so long.” and… “I can’t fit into last years swim suit” and… “I know it’s too late to start now” and… and… and…
“No it’s not too late to dust off the Winter hibernation and begin your ‘get fit for Summer’ program.” Says Jill Healy-Quintard, our Fitness Consultant.
“Pushing yourself into a heavy going Fitness Regime in the heat is not a good idea, but there are many options available to help you on your way to fitness and health this Summer.” Jill went on to say.
Motivating your self by far is the most difficult part of any exercise program, but remember once you start then it is well known that it takes a little as 10 days to start feeling the benefits and also to begin to develop the habit of exercise. In fact after one month of exercise there can be a withdrawal effect if the exercise suddenly ceases, so getting yourself started is the first step to your Summer Fitness.
As the days become longer and warmer
walking is an enjoyable, inexpensive and relatively easy way to begin a fitness program. Walking with a friend or taking the dog for a walk for extra motivation is even better. Make sure that you wear good walking shoes and dress comfortably, carry water to remain hydrated and if in sunlight that sun screen is applied. If you do decide to walk alone make sure that you have informed someone of your whereabouts, although taking a friend is by far the most motivating.
Begin with a moderate to brisk walk for 30 minutes, 3 times per week. Once you have begun to feel the benefits you can increase your pace, distance and times. You will also find added benefits such as your senses being heightened by the sound, sights, smells and textures of the outdoors and that the chemicals and hormones that are released in the brain through exercise help combat stress and promote happiness.
If walking is too slow try to build up to
jogging. A good measurement of jogging successfully for your health is still being able to hold a conversation but finding that it is a little more difficult than it was when walking. Jogging will build the aerobic fitness level faster and will burn more calories than walking but is more stressful on the joints of the body.
Swimming is another enjoyable, generally inexpensive and easily accessible exercise that will tone the body as well as building aerobic fitness and burn fat by working major muscle groups. Ocean swims are harder than pool swims but both are low impact on the body and less stress on the joints as the water supports your weight.
Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise that can be done on a stationary cycle or outdoors. Plenty of sunscreen, cooling clothing and safe cycle tracks is important if choosing the Summer outdoors to cycle. It is a great exercise for people with bone or joint problems as weight is supported by the bike and can be done at your own pace.
Dance classes or Group Fitness classes is also a great motivating way to get your fitness regime on the move. If the option of joining a gym is not available some local community centers and some dance schools offer classes in Salsa, Aerobic Fitness, Power Pilates or Yoga and more on a casual basis. Putting on some fast paced music and dancing while you are cleaning the house can burn off many calories and make you feel full of life and energy, least to say moving through the housework much quicker.
Pilates and Yoga are of great fitness benefit and are available to do at home through DVD’s, classes at local community centres and halls as well as Yoga Centres and Gyms. Core strength and muscle awareness as well as flowing movement, centering, balancing and breath awareness is the foundation of Pilates and can be done at beginners to advanced levels depending on your fitness level. Yoga uses Asanas or postures to unify mind, body and spirit. They are both very beneficial for people with conditions such as back problems, asthma, arthritis and stress and can also be done at a pace to suit the individual and will help flexibility and strength.
Weight Training is also beneficial to overall fitness but as it is not a cardiovascular form of fitness then it is best done as part of a cross training program, such as walking/jogging and Pilates/Yoga. It does involve equipment such as weights and bars which may not be a viable option.
I have a female friend who is doing a light weight program at the moment along with running and stretching and uses baked bean cans or water bottles for weights, runs outdoors and swims at the beach and stretches at home and is covering every muscle group as well as aerobic fitness and feels wonderful. It is not so difficult, it is just getting started that is the hard part. Remember 10 days and you will begin to feel the wonderful benefits of a fitter, healthier you.