For many, the start of a new year presents an opportunity to start something new: to make positive lifestyle changes with the intention of being a brighter version of you. We set resolutions that we may or may not have kept, thus far… Now that the silly season is officially over, you might be ready to really kick things into gear!
This can be tricky given the overwhelming amount of information out there. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. So, I wanted to share some pointers on how to create an exercise plan that’s more likely to stick – a plan that fits into your lifestyle and is fun, adaptable and effective.
Make movement a daily ritual. Even if you only have 15 minutes some days, that’s all it takes. It’s all about building good habits.
Find physical activities that you really enjoy. Not all of us love the gym and working out. While it’s important to incorporate some strength and conditioning training into your wellness plan it certainly doesn’t need to occupy the majority.
Love the outdoors? Jump on a bike. Hit the slopes on skis or snowboard. Learn to surf. Go for a paddle. Hike up a mountain.
Not so into braving the elements? Try a yoga class. See what other classes your local gym offers – cycle and boxing are both great for building strength, speed, coordination and cardiovascular fitness. Gymnastic/Trampoline centers are becoming great spaces for re-introducing adults to real “play-time”.
Here’s a program that is balanced for total-body strength, coordination, power, stability and mobility. A balanced program will make sure you get what you need – minus the injuries!
When choosing movements from the matrix – be sure to include the following in each workout:
- 1 x hip-hinge/posterior chain movement (sounds technical doesn’t it? An example of an exercise like this is a deadlift).
- 1-2 x upper body pull movements (preferably one where you move the weight vertically and one where you move it horizontally – good examples of these are chin-ups and pull-ups).
- 1 x upper body push movement (examples would be push-ups or dips).
- 1 x lower body push movement (examples would be squats or lunges).
- 1 x core strength exercise (such as a plank or other abdominal exercise).
Note there are no isolation exercises such as specific biceps or triceps exercises (i.e. bicep curls or tricep extensions). These are an unnecessary luxury in most programs. Unless you have plenty of time up your sleeve or can squeeze 1-3 really quick sets, they do not need to be there.
The benefit of a program that uses body weight exercises is that you can do these wherever you are. You don’t need to go to the gym to maintain your program. Wherever you go, it goes. I hope these tips support you to choose an exercise plan that you love, which will inevitably help you stay on track – making 2016 a great year for achieving your health and wellbeing goals.