STUCK FOR TIME? GET THE MOST OUT OF EXERCISE
Happy New Year! As social media feeds remind us of our commitment to ‘New Year Goals’ and ‘New Year, New Me’ health, fitness and wellbeing mantras this January 2024, most of us are just trying to balance our lifestyles and obligations as we did on December 31st 2023.
The pressure may be on in the public domain but in the real world, how can you get the most out of exercise, especially if you are limited on time, or if you face health concerns linked to age or chronic illness? Judging from the following graphic, fitness doesn’t seem to be a priority for many of us so where are some simple solutions?
TIME-SAVING FITNESS TIPS
The ‘new’ priority when it comes to time-saving fitness tips, especially as we age, is to create healthy habits that are realistic and achievable. If you are a morning person who feels more energised before lunch, then try to set time aside to keep moving, albeit indoors or out. Try out different things, do a bit of research and if you have a budget to commit to a folding bike or a treadmill, write a wish and checklist of the non-negotiables. It can be confusing starting out so take your time or ask advice from professionals as to the best solutions for you.
EXERCISE HABIT SNACKING
‘Exercise habit snacking’ is a topic that Roger has talked about in the past – 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Check out Roger’s video here: Roger shares his thoughts on the benefits of exercise habit stacking. For some, this might take the form of some yoga Sun Salutations during the day to get the ‘Yang’ (heat) flowing or simple stretches. Even a short meditation can calm and balance the mind and body. Don’t be put off by the Ultra Marathon runners out there in the wilderness (but ‘Bravo’ nonetheless!). Focus on what you need and want for this year.
USING TIME WISELY
Whether you are sat on the sofa or going for a hospital appointment, there are always opportunities to consciously ‘keep moving’ as a time-saving fitness tip. From choosing stairs Vs a lift (if you are able to walk up the stairs) or doing knee raises while you are watching ‘Corrie’, healthy lifestyle choices should be just that – a choice. Efficient exercise workouts, especially for seniors, should be manageable but how can you better manage your time?
When it comes to time management, for the dedicated ‘owls’ amongst us who love a spreadsheet to keep organised, don’t over-stretch yourself with wellness and fitness obligations, if you know you won’t have time to fulfil them. If you do this, more than likely you will give up altogether due to a fear of ‘failure’. Be(com)ing healthy is not something that happens overnight; it takes time and reasonable commitment, as well as a possible overhaul of your diet as well. If you didn’t see Michael Mosley’s new TV series, why not check it out for helpful tips Watch Michael Mosley: Secrets of Your Big Shop. The big next question though is which workout to choose?
SHORT DURATION HIGH IMPACT WORKOUTS
INTERVAL TRAINING ON A TREADMILL
If you enjoy high-impact workouts, for example on a treadmill, get a quick workout in during your day, perhaps doing short bursts of running (if you are able) combined with walking. This type of interval training can be done with or without an incline, based on manual 30-second bursts on your treadmill, for five to 10 minutes. Please ensure that you warm up and cool down, despite the short workout cycle, especially when the weather is bad and your circulation may be poorer than usual. Interval training including running should only be undertaken if you are used to running. Interval training can also solely focus on walking, either with or without a gradient or at a faster or slower pace.
Yes, running or walking up and down stairs is enough to get the heart pumping and the endorphins a’ flowing as a time-saving fitness tip. Who remembers the random reels during Lockdown of people getting creative with their workouts? You can walk or bound up the stairs – one or two at a time or also crawl up the stairs to get the upper body working as well, like a home version of a gym-bunny’s ‘spider crawl’. Clearly, this form of exercise might not work for everyone but the option is there. Just be mindful of not over-extending your knees over your feet on the way down, to protect your knees.
OTHER OPTIONS – STRENGTH TRAINING
Even if you can’t get outside, don’t own home fitness equipment, or don’t want to lift weights at a local gym, you can be creative within your home. Examples might be*:
1.Sit on a dining room chair (or similar) and use tinned cans as light ‘weights’ to strengthen and mobilise arm movement eg Senior Home Workout with Weights (Dumbbells or Tin Cans) PART 2 – YouTube. Most of us, especially as we age, will feel the occasional niggle in one or another body parts during Winter so go easy on yourself but use your tins or bags of flour or sugar to surprise your muscles. The average bag of sugar or flour will weight 1kg (2lb), the lowest average weight denomination when buying free weights, so make sure you check product weights before use.
2.Invest in some resistance bands to use, when either standing or indeed seated at a desk. They are low-cost, easy-to-use and don’t take up any space. They are usually available as either wider, colour-coded Pilates-style options that resist movement on your legs or as thin hand-held long rubber bands with handles (like a stretchy skipping rope), that are also colour coded. The latter can be used as a weight replacement, especially if you use your body weight as the ‘resistance’. To start with, try the latter by placing the lightest resistance band under your feet and pull up (as you would with a light weight). Get used to the feeling of pulling against your weight – if in doubt re your form, do check YouTube to make sure you are using bands correctly to maximise impact and results. These bands are also good for wrist and hand mobility if you are at your laptop all day or suffer from RSI.
THE ’BEST’ TYPE OF WORKOUT
Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all solution or answer to this question, most experts will agree that consistency with variation is key. Strength training coupled with low or high-impact cardio is often the winning combination, especially for women as they age, protecting bones during and after menopause. There is also a strong case for walking as a steadfast solution, as seen in ‘Blue Zones’ where ageing populations tend to walk everywhere (and often uphill) – but let’s save the walking theme for another blog. We are big fans of walking on treadmills or outdoors, here at #Team RBF.
So, for now, and before you rush off to delve into your cupboards for a bag of flour (a good shoulder and back workout in itself), we wish you the very best for 2024 when it comes to your health and wellbeing. We are extremely proud of the real difference we are making to customers – especially our older customers who want to exercise more. Feel free to share your journeys with us via socials or on email at email@example.com
*Many videos and general resources are available on Youtube.com and Google.co.uk. Always check with a medical professional prior to commencing any form of home workout