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Health and Wellbeing - March 2018

28 Feb 2018

Fight for your fitness

Boxing, martial arts and MMA-type fitness activities have emerged as hot trends for 2018.

Boxing for fitness is nothing new, we just need reminding about how good it is for our health and wellbeing every now and then.

Here are some reasons why you should consider making boxing class part of your fitness regime this year and into the future:

1 – It’s high energy! Boxing is an energetic and strenuous activity, so you should be aware of the potential high intensity of a class or session. If you are just starting out, make sure your trainer knows your history and ability, so they can monitor your progress. Once you are up and punching, you will burn lots of calories and notice great improvements in your cardio vascular fitness;

2 – Helps with emotional control and release. Boxing is a great way to release tension, stress and clear your head. Lets face it, it feels great to punch something (that won’t punch back) and let off some steam during your busy day. You will feel fantastic afterwards;

3 – You can learn new skills. A good boxing trainer will take the time to teach you the fundamentals: how to stand, move, guard and punch. It’s really important that you get some qualified guidance right from the beginning so you can develop your skills, co-ordination and confidence with time, commitment and effort;

4 – Increase your core conditioning. Boxing isn’t just great for upper body conditioning and general fitness, it is also a fantastic way to improve the condition of your core; and

5 – Just for the fun of it. Boxing is fun, but it double the fun if you can do a class with your colleagues, family and friends. There are plenty of opportunities in Docklands to take a class today so grab some buddies and give it a try!

Bodyweight training and benefits

Bodyweight training can be described as exercising without equipment or machines, instead using the mass or weight of the body to provide resistance.

Here are some great things about bodyweight training that should encourage you to get off the machines and use your body to its full potential.

Body weight training is suitable for all levels of fitness. It can be adapted to anyone’s level of fitness or goals.

If you are just starting out, the intensity and repetitions maybe lower. As you increase your fitness levels, you might add speed, power, more repetitions or advanced movements to the activity.

Take an exercise like the squat for example – a new exerciser might do eight to ten reps of a half squat and rest for 30 seconds, whereas a more advanced participant might squat deeper, do more squats, add a jump and have less rest, all resulting in higher intensity!

The variation is endless – There are a couple of foundation exercises like the squat, lunge, crunch and push up, but for each of those there might be 10-20 variations. These variations provide a range of challenges and benefits to the exerciser.

It’s portable. You don’t need any equipment for bodyweight training. All you need is your own body! Look for structures like benches, walls, trees, playgrounds etc. to help set up opportunities to train different muscle groups in different ways.

It’s functional. Functional training is training for the purpose of living. We can link exercises like the squat and lunge in training to life because we repeatedly perform these movements every day when we move lift and carry things. Training functionally with life in mind, daily tasks can become easier, we can perform them better and we will reduce the likelihood of injury.

Improvement in cardio fitness, strength and flexibility. Your bodyweight training will and can cover all three of these key exercise components. Make sure you take time at the end of each workout to stretch.

You will get results. Many of the bodyweight exercises use compound movements. Compound exercises like a lunge, squat or push up include movements of more than one joint and involve many muscles and large movements. If you go to a gym, a good trainer would have you completing compound exercise as a preference.

It’s free! Once you know how to execute a few of the key exercises and movements, you are ready to go. You can work out anywhere at any time and there are no excuses not to train!

Five reasons why Pilates works

Improved posture and alignment. Pilates helps correct imbalances in posture and alignment by training muscle groups equally and evenly. When the body is out of alignment, excessive stress is placed on the joints, ligaments and spine. Once improvements are made, the body functions more efficiently and injuries are avoided.

Improved flexibility. Many workouts, especially those with heavy resistance and weights, focus on muscular contractions and muscle shortening. Stretches performed (if any) are typically static. With Pilates, movements and stretches are mostly dynamic and there is a focus on both shortening and lengthening the muscles.

Relaxation and stress relief. Pilates methods incorporate a strict focus on deep and regular breathing which brings on a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Muscle tone and strength. Pilates is not easy. Hard work and excellent execution of moves and sequences will bring with it improvements in strength without creating bulky muscles. Better muscle tone, especially around the thighs, hips and waist is readily achieved with time.

Improved physical and mental endurance. Pilates is a true mind and body workout. Body weight exercises and sequences challenge the physical capacity and ability. Completion of repetitions, combinations and sets with targets for achievement will engage and will challenge the mind.

Pilates is a wonderful way to exercise for men and women of all ages.

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