Welcome back to another instalment of “Get Moving in 2014!” Last week, I discussed bodyweight exercises as well as why it’s important to get your exercise in, especially if part of your job is sitting down all day.
Today’s Focus: Sports and Group Training
It is possible that you are the kind of person who hates the idea of locking yourself up in the gym and picking a machine/piece of equipment. Sure, the idea might sound a little better if you have a gym buddy, but it doesn’t make you happy, and frankly, if you don’t like it that much, chances are that you won’t stick to your workout goals.
Considering leisure sports as a work-out activity is a great idea, in this case. Whether you prefer individual sports such as running, biking, or swimming, or if you would rather join a class of group sports like soccer or badminton, it’s exercise either way. Sports all have their own benefits that gym training may not necessarily have, such as developing faster reflexes.
For example, I signed up for badminton with my boyfriend once a week. At the beginning, I kind of sucked (in fact, I am terrible at any team sport), but towards the end of the first session I had began developing better reflexes, and I found that my body reacted before my brain did much more often than at the beginning.
As a plus factor, team sports can be a lot of fun! They can quickly become competitive amongst friends, and if you have a big family, it can entertain everyone while making sure that you are staying active. I have a friend who has a very large family, and they have an ‘Outside Sports Day’ every year during the holidays. Everyone can play the most basic sports, even the youngest toddlers and the oldest grandparents!
Individual sports do not cultivate reflexes and decision-making skills as much as team sports, but the cardiovascular endurance needed to perform is certainly higher. Swimming is a great example of a sport that anyone can do, especially when recovering from an injury. Trying to swim 40 lanes (1 km) will be a more intense workout, but for beginners and recovering people, starting out with only kicking your feet (with a flutterboard) is a low-impact yet very good exercise.
If sports aren’t your thing, group training offer another fun alternative to working out. The positive is that dozens of options exist, you get to have an instructor to motivate you, you’re not alone, and some classes are just plain fun. The negative is that you might not enjoy every class, so that means you will have to try out a lot of different options available to you locally.
Zumba, Circuit Training, Cardio Pump, Spinning, Aquafitness: these are only a few of the options.
(By the way, I have given Aquafitness classes before, and it’s not just for old ladies. If you are a beginner to water activity in general, it will get you sweating, except you’re in water, so you don’t get all sweaty!)
If you have a friend who is also interested in getting fit, why don’t you team up and try to find a class together? Plus, having another person with you keeps you accountable and will motivate you to get your butt to said class in the first place.
If you prefer working out from home and are interested in workout DVD’s, I strongly recommend Jillian Michaels. Any one of her workouts will make you work hard and get you results if you stick to it. No matter how fit I get, whenever I go back and do a Jillian Michaels video, it’s almost as hard as the first time I ever tried it. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s short (25=35 minutes, depending on the video) and it works.
If you want to keep it simple and do circuit training at home without a DVD, several routines are available on the Internet. Here is one that I have designed for beginners. You will notice that it incorporates some of the moves from last week’s workout. That is because they are important moves – the squat, for example. I promise you the squat will appear in next week’s workout as well, in a different incarnation.
Do all the repetitions for every move in a circuit, then repeat the circuit once. When the first circuit has been done twice, move on to circuit two. Follow the same procedure for all circuits.
Squats with dumbbell in hands: 20 reps
Jumping jacks: 30 reps
Chair hold against a wall: 30 seconds
Pushups: 15 reps
Jog in place: 30 seconds
Front arm raises with dumbell (weight of choice): 12 reps
Lunges with barbell curls: 10 reps each leg
Side arm raises with barbell: 12 reps
Leg raises: 15 reps
If this type of exercise interests you, try this workout. It’s not too long, and it has both cardio and light strength training.
Remember: don’t over-think it. You want to get moving and healthy, it doesn’t really matter what you decide to do, as long as you do something and you like what you’re doing. It took me 2 years to find out the type of exercise that I really like. But that will be for our next subject.
To be continued…