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Health and Wellbeing - May 2017

07 May 2017

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By Andrew Ward

The first step when screening and programing new fitness clients is to establish their specific goals, exercise history and if they have any special conditions or injuries we need to consider. It’s the trainer’s responsiblity to educate and recommend their best path to success.

What is often overlooked in the goal-setting process is the positive impacts of exercise to the mind, as the obsession is mostly focused around physical changes – losing weight, losing body fat, toning up or gaining muscle. The good news is that a very positive side effect of your physical activity will be an improvement in your general wellbeing.

Different types of exercise and activity can have different positive wellbeing outcomes that you might not be aware of, for example:

  • Yoga and stretching – reduction in anxiety, increases calmness and emotional stability;
  • Weight training and power lifting – improves memory, resilience, improves self-esteem and helps tackle depression;
  • High intensity training – helps control appetite and reduce cravings;
  • Running – improves memory, enhances clarity in thoughts; and
  • Boxing and martial arts – stress release, focus and clarity.

Break it down - The push-up!

What is so great about the push-up?

The push-up has long been a staple of most exercise programs. It is predominantly a chest, shoulder and triceps exercise, performed in a prone (face down) position. Secondary muscle groups involved are the core, the legs and the greater shoulder girdle.

Used in military training, phys-ed classes, fitness testing or for punishment (give me 20!), the push-up has now become a common feature in most group fitness and training classes on the market.

Here are some great reasons why you should make the push-up a part of your weekly routine:

  1. Variation – did you know there are more than 20 variations on the push-up you can do for different outcomes?
  2. No equipment required – it’s a completely portable activity;
  3. Variation in intensity – there are push-ups for beginners through to the elite athlete;
  4. Measuring progress – you can see yourself improve over time; and they are fun!

Push-up facts: World record in one minute: 123 push-ups; Most continuous push-ups: 10,507; Most push ups in 24 hours: 46,001.

Warming up and cooling down

A combination of our so called “busy” lives along with the popularity of high-intensity training classes has led to a down grading in the importance of warming up and cooling down. It’s also doubly important with the recent drastic temperature drops in the last few weeks.

These days it’s all about the 30-minute drill session where you strive for the maximum results from the least time. Training with a high intensity certainly has its upsides, but what we are seeing too much of lately is completely avoidable, minor injuries that are directly related to not warming up or cooling down properly.

Recently we had a case where a lady injured her calf muscle after missing her regular warm up, and went straight into a high intensity session. This didn’t result in any major injury, extensive treatment or rehabilitation, but did present a minor setback for her. For the next two weeks, her workouts needed to be modified, and she felt it was going back to square one after progress had been made in the past month.

The whole purpose of the warm up and cool down is to prepare the body to function under the stress of exercise and return the body gently to normal function after the workout. The risk of set back and injury is unfortunately more apparent for new and enthusiastic exercisers, or when you are returning from a short break – so be smart. Don’t overlook the importance of the warm and cool down, especially when exercising with high intensity.

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