There are two things that I really like - quotes and lists!
Whether it’s a top five or 10, lists resonate with me as they help break any problem or challenge down into manageable, achievable steps.
Health and Fitness is no different. It can be broken down into a manageable, achievable steps. It should not be some mystery that only the chosen few get to experience.
That is why I want to present the 10 Laws of Health and Fitness in this article. There are certain irrefutable laws or facts that need to be adhered to in order to attain a great level of health and fitness.
In this three-part series I will explain these laws and try to highlight why they are important. I will have articles that expand on each of these in more detail in the future, but to start I think it is important to have a good general overview on how to attain better health and fitness in 2016.
Purpose - What do you want to achieve?
When I see people make a breakthrough it is because they finally had a purpose and found they wanted to get fit and healthy.
In my physio clinic I see a lot of people who have been in pain for months or years. The pain can affect their day-to-day activities and stops or hampers activities they once loved. I help a lot of people like this, especially those in the 40s, 50s and 60s to get out of pain and become active again.
But it starts with them WANTING to get out of pain and become active. Something finally clicks and they decide enough is enough. That is always the starting point, otherwise they don’t come to see me.
Exercise and eating right can help you feel better. When you feel better, you do more. When you do more, you meet other people.
A healthy lifestyle gives us the energy to be better than before. We want to participate, share, communicate, and build a community that has purpose in our lives. Get a goal for 2016, something that motivates you and makes you want to start.
Consistency - ‘Some of the time’ never changed anything, good or bad.
If I eat ice-cream some of the time or as a treat, that’s fine it is not going to really affect that much. If I ate ice-cream every day, I probably would not be in great shape!
It is the same with training. Someone once told me training twice a week is like throwing yourself down the stairs - it hurts a lot but doesn’t do much good.
You have to train or exercise at least four times per week. This can be four walks initially but, ideally, it would be a conditioning/Pilates class, a walk/run and two intense cardio sessions (a hard walk or run where you go fast for a minute then easy for a minute for sets of 10 minutes).
A word of caution on this: for people in their 40s, 50s or 60s, make sure if you are going to do a class it is measured and designed to keep you injury free also.
Variety - Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Once you have consistency and you are training at least four times per week you need to add variety to it - mix it up!
There are so many reasons why this is important.
From a health and injury prevention perspective, too much of the same thing causes pressure on the same joints and strain on the same muscles. This can lead to stiffness and ultimately breakdown. It can also cause boredom in your training.
Variety doesn’t mean you have to change the type of exercise you do (although that does help) but you should change things such as the intensity levels, duration of exercise and terrain.
I am a competitive runner so I need to do a lot of running. I make sure I have good variety in my training by doing some sprinting type of training sessions, some longer sessions and some in the middle!
I also run a functional fitness class in St Fiachra’s Parish centre twice a week to make sure I help reset and restore my joints and muscles.
By changing up your training you avoid plateaus and keep improving your fitness, shape and ultimately your health.
I will continue this theme in next week’s column with the next four laws of health and fitness.
If you are interested in a safe and effective class to improve fitness and tone muscles email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about physio Pilates and functional fitness classes.