7 exercises to rejuvinate your spring training schedule
Getting motivated is the hardest part of shaping up for summer, but the good news is that once you start, it takes as little as 10 days to begin feeling the benefits (and also to develop the habit of exercise). In fact, after one month of exercising, a withdrawal effect can kick in if you suddenly stop your program.
1. Start walking
As the days become longer and warmer, walking becomes an enjoyable, inexpensive and relatively easy way to begin your fitness program. Walk with a friend or take the dog for a stroll for extra motivation. Make sure you wear good walking shoes and dress comfortably, carry water to remain hydrated, and if in sunlight, apply sunscreen and wear a hat. Begin with a moderate to brisk walk for 30 minutes, three times per week.
2. Build your pace
Once you’re in the zone and walking regularly, you can increase your pace, distance and duration. The chemicals and hormones that are released in the brain through exercise (especially running) can help combat stress and promote happiness, which is an amazing motivator to keep up the pace.
Running will build your aerobic fitness level quickly and burn more kilojoules. However, it can be more stressful on the joints of the body, so make sure you have good quality footwear. Grab your iPod and make a playlist of your best dance tracks and you will be off and running in no time.
3. Get in the ocean or pool
Swimming is a low impact, inexpensive and easily accessible exercise that tones the body, builds aerobic fitness and burns fat by working major muscle groups. Ocean swims are harder than pool swims, but both are low impact on the body and cause less stress on the joints as the water supports your weight, is cooling, refreshing, fun and can be done on your own or with family and friends.
4. Try cycling
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 are important if choosing the outdoors to cycle. It is great exercise for people with bone or joint problems as weight is supported by the bike and it can be done at your own pace.
5. Dance yourself fit
Dance classes are excellent motivators and really get your fitness regime on the move. If you don’t like the gym atmosphere, private studios and dance schools offer classes in everything from belly dancing, salsa and ZUMBA on a casual basis. If none of the above suits just putting on fast-paced music and dancing while you are cleaning, gardening or working around the house can also burn kilojoules and make you feel full of life and energy.
6. Zen time is a balanced time
Pilates and yoga are great for the body and the mind and can be done at home or in a class environment. Pilates focuses on breath work, core strength and muscle awareness, as well as helping you to become centred and balanced. Yoga uses asanas or postures to unify mind, body and spirit. Yoga and Pilates are both very beneficial for people with conditions such as back problems, asthma and arthritis, and are great stress relievers, especially with the added benefit of a meditation to finish the class.
7. Lift it, push it!
Weight training will improve your overall fitness, and is particularly great for weight loss because your body continues to burn fat long after you’ve stopped working out. The best part is you don’t need to lift heavy – lifting lighter weights has been shown to be just as effective.
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