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Health and Wellbeing - May 2019

30 Apr 2019

Express workout for corporate workers

Express workouts don’t take long, normally 20-30 minutes 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. The 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 corporate workers.

Spin the clock back 10 years and a gym workout could be 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 the 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 should have a small warm up at the beginning of the class which is a good start. Arrive early for the 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, 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 …

Relax, recharge, reset and meditate

There are so many reasons why we should all make time to meditate, many now backed up by medical science. Common reasons why people don’t take up the practice of mediation is time (or lack of it) and not knowing where or how to start.

The great news is that you don’t need to set aside hours each day for mediation – you can start with just a few minutes each day and build on that as you go.

Here are five reasons why you should make time for meditation:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety;
  • Increase in kind thoughts and actions;
  • Decrease blood pressure;
  • Helps manage pain; and
  • Improves sleep.

Here are some tips to begin your own practice:

Create time and space. Start with two to three minutes each day, preferably in the morning. Morning rituals and habits are easier to form than later in the day when you are most likely tired and distracted.

Get started:

  • Choose between seated or lying position, ensure you are comfortable;
  • Close your eyes;
  • Turn your focus to the breath, both the inhalation and exhalation;
  • Observe how your body responds to your breath and breathing; and
  • Maintain focus on your breathing for two or three minutes then open your eyes.

Next steps:

  • Increase the time you meditate – consider your personal comfort. You can buy a mediation chair or use mats, pillows or bolsters to improve the experience.
  • Use technology. There are many great apps that you can download that will help guide and educate you on your mind body journey. Examples of apps are Headspace and Calm.
  • Consider a class. Search for a local meditation class within a reputable facility or community centre.

Bodyweight training and the 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 seven 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 10 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!

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