A lot of you have been following my fitness tips via my newsletter and I promised that in February I would help take your fitness up to the next level. By now you should have completed about 13 weeks of relatively easy exercise. If you haven’t been following and would like to, here’s the link: Cristina’s Newsletter Sign-up
Links to the previous tips:
Before we continue, let me just answer the following questions:
Why is it so important to do regular exercise?
Staying active means keeping your body functioning at a high level. Regular exercise will maintain the performance of your lungs and heart to most efficiently burn off excess calories and keep your weight under control. Exercise will also improve muscle strength, increase joint flexibility and endurance.
Experts recommend working out several times over the course of a week (not just cramming it all in over the weekend which can raise the risk of injury) with varying exercises for the most benefit to your health.
What is Fitness?
Fitness does not only refer to being physically fit, but also refers to a person’s mental state as well. You can help relax your own mind and eliminate stresses by exercising regularly and eating right.
How Can You Become More Physically Fit?
To become physically fit requires a change in life style as well. You will have to incorporate a regular exercise routine in your life and also eat healthier.
Exercising does not have to be something boring and dreaded. It can be something that you enjoy that helps to increase the overall happiness in your life, as well as relieve symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Any type of moderate activity like walking, swimming, biking or organised sports can contribute to your physical fitness. Try to find an activity that you enjoy and will be able to maintain long-term. I base my fitness tips around walking and running because both are the easiest and probably cheapest form of exercise to organise, you just need to grab your running shoes and wear some comfortable clothing and you’re all set to go.
So are you ready for week: 14? I hope so! ; )
For the next few weeks we’re going to introduce a cross-training workout.
Cross-training? “What!?” I hear you say in a panic, “is that some sort of hard-core, military-type obstacle course?” As images of “Ninja Warrior,” pop into your head.
Cross-training is typically defined as an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness.
What are the benefits of cross-training?
Reduced risk of injury: Often injuries occur when you over-do a single activity. Joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons throughout your body are under a tremendous amount of stress through repeated movement, and it’s important to give them the occasional break.
Improved total fitness and enhanced weight loss: One of the most common mistakes people make with exercise is repeating the same routine week after week. To continue to improve your fitness level and reap all the benefits of regular exercise, you need to keep your body guessing. Cross training does this for you.
Enhanced exercise adherence. Research on exercise adherence indicates that many individuals drop out of exercise programs because they become bored or injured. Cross training is a safe and relatively easy way to add variety to an exercise program.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate cross-training is to alternate between activities (e.g., run one day, swim the next, cycle the next). But of course not everyone can fit (or afford) all three activities into the weekly mayhem.
*So if we continue with our walk / run routine, doing two or three sessions a week, one will now become the cross-training session which will consist of the following: (Click on the exercise name for images)
- 10 x Press-ups (Rest knees on the floor if necessary)
- 15 x Jumping Jacks
- 10 x Squats
- 10 x Forward lunges (alternate legs)
- 20 x Skipping (with or without a rope)
- 10 x Bench dips (If you don’t have a bench, just use a chair held in place against a Wall)
- 25 x Sit-ups
- 15 x Hip raises
- 25 seconds Plank
- 20 x Swimming
Remember correct posture is fundamental whilst performing these exercises, so you don’t strain your neck / lower back, etc. It’s always best to seek a personal trainer or do a few similar sessions at a gym where the instructor will explain correct posture and breathing for the exercises before you attempt them alone.
*Always remember to go for a medical check-up before starting any exercise regimen and if during exercise you feel pain of any kind stop immediately.
Week 14 – Week: 16.
(You should be aiming to do three exercise sessions per week. 20 – 30 minutes each session).
Day One: 5 minute walk warm-up. Run for 15 minutes and record the distance. 5 minute walk warm-down and stretch. *How far have you covered in 15 minutes? Let’s see if in a few weeks time you can repeat the 15 minute run and improve the distance covered. The ability to measure physical improvement is a huge motivational factor. But only to be repeated and tested occasionally, you can’t expect to achieve a PB (personal best performance) every single time you go out and run.
Day Two: 5 minute walk warm-up. Do one repetition of the cross-training exercises outlined above. 5 minute walk warm-down and stretch.
Day Three: 5 minute walk warm-up. (1 minute run: 1 minute walk) x 5, finish with a 5 minute walk and stretch.
*Don’t record the distance of your 15 minute run during week: 15. Just enjoy it without putting pressure to improve the distance.
If you feel comfortable, do 2 repetitions of the cross-training exercises in week 15 and 16.
Week: 17: Have an easy week. Take the week off or just do some gentle walking or light jogging and stretching.
And most importantly, have fun! (And sign-up for some more fun tips)