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Health and Wellbeing - May 2018

03 May 2018

Efficient and effective workouts

Express workouts are short workout by time, normally 20-30 minutes long with a focus on maximising effort and work completed during the session. This concept is a perfect match for corporate workers who have limited time before, during and after work.

Good news is that the express workout is an effective way to train and nowadays most exercise programs and service providers have adapted shorter formats and variations to suit the corporate worker.

Spin the clock back 10 years and a gym workout was normally an hour long, as were the fitness classes. Longer time workouts are still effective, but more for purpose and by choice. If you have the time to enjoy a longer class, or spend 60-90 minutes in the gym then that’s fine and you should enjoy the experience. But just know, that as workout time increases, workout intensity decreases and there are real benefits with higher intensity training. It is horses for courses though – not everyone is looking for the body smashing ultra-Spartan time torture workout. It’s just that most corporate workers don’t have the luxury of spare time, so the express workout is the best match for them.

Back to express workouts. They are great for many reasons including the fact that you can burn up to, and in excess of 300 calories in 30 minutes. However, there is a downside and you need to be realistic and conscious of this. We all learnt in school sports and exercise 101 that we should warm up and cool down effectively before any activity. If we just turn up to gym straight from the desk and launch into a high intensity workout without an effective warm up, there is a real risk of injury. On top of that, we place significant stress on the cardio vascular system (your heart and lungs) when we move too quickly from a sedentary position at our work desk, to the gym and straight into some plyometrics, sprint work or lifting weights above our head.

An express workout may (should) have a small warm up at the beginning of the class which is a good start. My advice though is to arrive early for such classes and tack on a proper warm up of, say, five minutes on a rower, assault bike or cross trainer. These machines used with a low to moderate intensity will warm up your muscles and kick start your heart so you are ready for the higher intensity work ahead.

As well as warming up, stretching and cooling down are important parts of any exercise routine. Dynamic stretching and mobility exercises and movements are more effective than static stretching, especially at the beginning of your workout. Think about mobility exercises as shortening and lengthening the muscles while moving a joint or joints through their full range of motion. Dynamic stretching helps prepare both the muscles and joints for the ‘good’ physical stresses of exercise and will help reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness.

Here are some express classes and workouts you might like to try, all which last for 30 minutes: BodyPump Express, CX Worx, GRIT, Core Express, Warrior, MetaFit, Stretch and Roll, Cycle Express, Boxing Express, Boot Camp and many more! Or why not just go for a 30 minute run…

It’s health and fitness prime time so grab some friends and get out there!

One Million Steps with the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation has recently moved its headquarters to Docklands and it hasn’t wasted any time moving with the launch of the Prime Minister’s “One Million Steps” program.

The program, along with an easy to use Walking App, were released to the public just over a month ago. Together they help motivate us to move more, track our activity levels, set realistic and achievable goals, and reward us for achieving milestones along the way to one million steps.

All you need is a smart phone to get started. Download the free Heart Foundation Walking App from the App store, register, and then get moving. The app can either be synchronised with a fit bit or other activity tracker that measures your steps. If you don’t have one, you can just switch on the health app or pedometer in your smart phone to monitor your activity and it will automatically feed the data to the Walking App.

You can join walking groups in your area through the app or even create your own with some friends. The app has leader boards that show yours, your group and the general public’s achievements which are great motivators. As you progress through your journey to one million steps, you are recognized for your efforts and receive digital certificates for the milestones.

Today I received my digital certificate for achieving 150,000 steps – cool! It also came with some tips and reminders of why exercise and movement are so critical for heart and general health. Did you know that exercising 30 minutes per day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by one third?

So why don’t you get started today! I just had a look and four people have just reached One Million Steps which is amazing. There are some prizes for being involved, but the biggest reason you should sign up is for your own personal health and wellbeing. What are you waiting for?

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