With winter fast approaching and the festive season just around the corner, we often neglect our physical wellbeing during this “weight gain season”. However, if we were to look at winter from a different perspective, its actually the perfect opportunity to get fit for summer.
So if being a busy parent, a professional at work, or both isn’t hard enough there is also that added goal to stay fit and healthy for next summer. And let’s be honest a working parent’s endless list of duties can often stop you accessing activities that allow you to burn calories and keep fit.
However, we have some helpful tips to fulfill your need for exercise and to get fit for summer 2020.
Cardio is your new best friend
I know what you are thinking; “I hate the sound of cardio, or I am no runner” well, to be honest, they are common thoughts. But, cardio doesn’t mean pounding the pavements like something out of a Rocky film. We can include cardio into our weekly routine for at least 15 minutes at a time. Cardio can mean low impact activities such as star jumps, climbing the stairs, using a rowing machine or stationary bike. If you want more of a challenge then jump rope or sign up to a nearby exercise class, as low impact cardio can be your best mate.
Bodyweight your best bits
Don’t be put off by the banging and clanging of a gym environment. You don’t always have to sneak past the heavy lifters just to exercise more. Your own body weight is the perfect ally to your health and wellbeing. Why not find a quiet spot in the gym for just you and a mat to workout. Exercising your key muscles using your body weight will make key changes to your fitness levels. Pushups, squats, planks to name just a few are hard but well worth it.
This being said, bodyweight exercises make it the ideal opportunity to not use the gym at all and stay at home. While ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ is on and the kids are in bed, try bodyweight exercises in front of the TV, sets of 5 with reps of 10 to 12. You can target your upper body through press-ups, dips, and pull-ups as well as not forgetting your legs with bodyweight squats, lunges, and jumps.
Flex yourself Fit
Having an adaptable and flexible weekly diary as a busy parent is probably a key trait we all share. However, being flexible physically is a different matter altogether. Without good flexibility your range of motion is limited, accessing exercise and improving on your fitness is not all about lifting weights. By taking up stretching classes or watching YouTube videos like Yoga or Pilates you can learn some basic techniques and stretches that give you a real boost of adrenaline and feel-good chemicals such as endorphins. These classes raise your heart rate and naturally build your overall strength as you fight against your own bodyweight and strive towards a fit and healthy summer body.
High-Intensity summer preparation
There is no replacement for hard work, however, finding time to exercise can be difficult. This is why High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be your ‘go-to’ when getting fit for summer. This form of exercise demands 30 secs of hard work and 30 seconds of rest for 10 to 15 minutes which can easily be included in your busy schedule each week. HIIT has been backed by some amazing research (1) showing that this form of quick and effective exercise is the predominant strategy for managing body fat levels as opposed to slow and steady (and boring) cardio. Because of its time efficiency is makes creating 15 minutes of exercise 2 or 3 times a week much more achievable this side of our summer holidays.
Variety is the spice of life
Getting your body fit and healthy for the summer period shouldn’t send your mind and body into a cold sweat. The more fun you have on the lead up to summer the more likely it is you will return and keep it up week after week.
Speak with your family and let them know you’re looking to exercise more, this way the whole family will be on board and support you, as well as each other. With the family (and friends) now on board, you can think further afield when looking to exercise. For example, waking up prior to the morning routine starts to do your HIIT session before anyone even notices it is appealing to some people. With HIIT being so quick and effective you can even do this on your lunch break at work or school, or while you watching your child play their games of football and rugby.
Think indoor rock climbing, long family walks in places you haven’t been, kayaking, working out while the kids are in the playground, joining in with the kids’ events such as at trampoline parks and so on. With family in mind don’t forget exercise opportunities are all around us as variety is the spice of life; thinking of opportunities that are bursting with variety and a change of scenery is key to your fitness levels and will prepare you ready for action this summer.