Boost fitness, reduce back pain, strengthen abs… if your New Year resolutions included all three of those, you’re probably wondering how to squeeze them into an already busy week.
Cue the multi-tasking workout.
Fitness expert Laura Williams says most people struggle to assign different fitness goals to multiple workouts: “People are pushed for time as it is,” she explains. “And however sincere you are when you make those exercise promises, life is life. With an unsustainable exercise routine, work, family and socialising will elbow those sweat minutes right off the timetable.”
So, where to start when it comes to making that new exercise regime efficient? “Most people want to strengthen their core. Either they’ve picked it up as a cure-all buzz word, or their doctor has suggested it for helping to alleviate some kind of joint pain.”
And ditto boosting fitness levels. “Aerobic exercise (the stuff that gets you out of breath) helps with everything, from managing high blood pressure to tackling the symptoms of diabetes, so it’s no wonder we’re always being told to get out of breath. You could do a lot worse than starting with these two.”
Williams has these tips for anyone getting started this January.
Dream big – and small
“I always recommend my personal training clients have a ‘dream goal’ and a ‘settle for’ goal. For example, you may decide this is the year you’d like to run a marathon. But for now, just invest in some decent running shoes and commit to running 10 minutes, twice a week.”
Have more than one goal
It’s important to vary your goals, so that if you plateau on one, you stay motivated by being able to gauge your progress in another. “If your weight loss has ground to a halt, knowing that you’re now fit enough to cycle to work can be a great morale-booster,” she says.
Avoid binging on high-intensity exercise
Williams recommends sampling the tougher stuff and trying it in small amounts, but she says when you’re starting out, you should keep most of your exercise at a moderate intensity. “The novelty of near-vomiting and continually sore limbs will wear off pretty quickly. And you want to be in this for the long haul.”
Manage your expectations
It takes a while to get fitter, so expect to feel a bit sweaty and uncomfy, particularly for those first few sessions. And if you’re looking to lose weight, that can take a while to kick in too.
“Everyone responds at a different rate to exercise and dietary interventions, so be patient and give it a few weeks before you decide you need to change things. And don’t give up,” adds Williams. “Reach out rather than rebel! There’s so much good advice and top motivation available, both online and in gyms – abandoning those wonderful new healthy resolutions shouldn’t be an option.”
Try the Cardio and Core Workout by Laura Williams
Move 1: Lunging heel tap
Take a long stride forward, and bend your front knee. Staying in your lunge position, tap your front heel with the back foot. Use your arms to propel you back and forth. Repeat for 30 seconds then switch sides. Repeat
Move 2: Plank jack-to-sweep
Position weight on palms and balls of feet. Jump feet apart, twice. Sweep one leg out to the side, then the other. Jump apart again. Repeat this for one minute
Move 3: Jumping squat
From a standing position, jump feet apart and lower towards the floor. Jump apart again, lowering further. Repeat a third time, and lower even more. Then jump back to standing. Repeat for 30 seconds, rest and repeat.
Move 4: The seated pulse
From a seated position, extend arms out to sides, legs out in front of you. Hinge back from the waist, without arching your back. Lightly pulse legs and arms for count of 20. Rest. Do this twice more.
Move 5: Speedy jog-to-lunge
Take three jogs on the spot and lunge forward on one leg. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg. Gradually speed up as you repeat this for one minute. Rest and repeat.
Move 6: Elbow to knee
With one arm supporting your head, extend your other elbow forwards towards your opposite knee. Your supporting leg should be hovering off the floor. Do 20 reps, then switch sides (place your supporting leg on the ground if your back arches).