The two ‘barriers' to exercise that I hear from new starters and people who want to return to exercise as they get older are: “What is the right exercise for me?” and “How do I exercise without hurting myself?” These are totally understandable questions, especially with the huge choice exercise out there and the sometimes conflicting messages we’re bombarded with from the media.
I’m sorry to answer a question with a question, but the answer lies within you–the type of exercise you choose to do is all about what you want to achieve from it.
So...-Do you want to gain strength? -Do you want to be more flexible with better balance? -Do you want to lose inches off your tummy or bottom? -Do you want to feel more energised and positive? You may answer yes to all these questions–and that’s great! The most important thing is to find something that you enjoy, that you can stick at and find the time for. Here are my top tips to help you choose the right exercise for you:
Find something you enjoy. Your exercise needs to be sustainable and nobody can keep it going if they don’t enjoy it. So if you love a walk in the park, do that regularly, turn up the intensity of the walk to challenge yourself, join a group or do it with a friend to keep it varied. If you want to increase your strength, invest in some hand weights and find a class you love, either at home or in a gym. Challenge yourself to do a little more each week and focus on different parts of your body.
Find something that fits your lifestyle. If you like to swim and the pool has a lane session at a time that suits you, pop along and do a few lengths. If a structured timetable doesn’t work for you because of other commitments, try a walk or jog at a time that suits you. Increasing your physical activity doesn’t have to mean adding an exercise class to your routine–it could be walking rather than getting the bus all the way, or doing more gardening.
Vary the type of exercise you do. Try to include a mix of aerobic (that get you out of puff and a bit sweaty) with strength exercises (with weights to get muscles stronger and for bone health) and stretching for flexibility and relaxation. Adding a variety of exercises to your routine not only keeps it more interesting but keeps you healthy all over. Alternating different levels of exercise intensity also helps to prevent injury and gives your muscles time to recover. So how about going for a swim, jog or brisk walk one day, followed by a Pilates class another day, followed by a weights class or session another day?
Take your health conditions into account. Be kind to yourself. If you have an ongoing health problem, some exercise won’t suit your body, but you don’t have to rule it out altogether. In fact, it often makes your health condition feel less of a hindrance. Always take advice from your doctor and fitness professional before you start a new exercise but high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and lots of conditions can be improved by a good dose of exercise. Muscle strains and sprains can happen to anyone at any age and any level of fitness but preparing properly for exercise is a must for avoiding injuries and staying active. Start off slow and don’t try to push too hard to begin with. Make sure your fitness instructor knows about your existing health conditions and what you want to get out of your fitness routine, we love to help people achieve their goals and to see them enjoy improving their health and wellbeing.
Find out more about our online exercise classes and face to face fitness classes in Didcot & Abingdon at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk
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By participating in this exercise or exercise programme, you are declaring yourself to be physically sound and suffering from no impairment, disease or infirmity or other illness that would prevent your participation in live streamed fitness classes or activities. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you are unsure about your suitability for this exercise, please refer to your GP. You hereby assume all responsibility for your participation and activities.