Have you ever thought about your exercise options as an all–you-can–eat buffet? When we have a full table of diverse food set out in front of us, we’re unlikely to just choose just one dish. Our exercise should be just the same!
Here is how to structure your exercise menu:
Starters and entrée
These are the gentle movements or stretches that are sometimes called mobilisers. No matter the movement, the aim is always the same – to prepare our muscles, joints and ligaments for exercise. They are also great to consume at the beginning of the day to combat all the stiffness of lying down over night. The goal is to move gently in all ranges of movement.
- Do gentle neck rolls; taking each ear to shoulder; nodding up and down; looking over each shoulder.
- In bare feet and with a bench or chair for support, lift up into tippy toes and back down again.
- Roll each ankle clockwise and anti-clockwise; point and flex the toes.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart and rotate the body – you can let your arms swing around too. Reach up and over each side. Reach down towards your toes.
- Stand tall and breathe deeply – feel your ribs and tummy expand when you inhale and contract when you breathe out.
These options make up the bulk of our food and diversity counts. Our health would suffer if we didn’t include vegetable or protein. A balanced diet is a must! But like all good diets, there are some rules for optimal health.
Here’s what to include on your plate:
- Strength training – Strength training is not just for young men and women with their Lycra and protein drinks! Strength training is essential for older adults – especially women, who are more susceptible to osteoporosis – to keep bones strong. Strength training can mean the difference in a small fall being a nasty bruise, to a broken hip. For strength training to be effective, you need to work a little outside your comfort zone. It’s really is important to have someone oversee your weight options and write a program designed specifically for you. Our Strength for Life program offers that both face-to-face (post COVID restrictions) and online. Visit the website to find out more or email email@example.com to find a Strength for Life instructor perfect for you. And don’t be afraid of the slight muscle soreness that you feel the next day or two. This is your body growing more muscle and your bones getting stronger! Allow a few days rest after a strength training session – strength training is best done just two or three times a week.
- Balance training – Good balance is a mixture of our core muscle strength and the fine hairs inside our ears. Vestibular training is the term given to allowing these fine hairs to move. Gravity and always keeping our head in the same place can mean that these fine hairs lie down. So, moving your head in all directions (see up in the entrée) is a great start. Challenge your balance every day using simple challenges. Stand on one leg. Walk heel to toe along a straight line. Join the grandkids on some of the wobbly boards at the playground! Our Strength for Life program also always includes balance component. Balance Training is like your vegetables – best consumed daily!
- Cardiovascular exercise. As the name suggests – this is great for your heart! To reap the benefits, you need to keep your heart rate up. However, this does not need to be as frightening as running a marathon or sprinting around the footy oval. Research tells us that the cardiovascular benefits can be had by short periods of high intensity work. This is often referred to as HIIT training – High Intensity Interval Training. Here are some examples of how you can easily incorporate HIIT into your cardio:
* When going for your walk, pick up the pace between two points (e.g. power poles). You want to be moving at a pace that leaves you a little breathless. Over time, you might need to extend it three power poles!
* Include some hills in your walk.
* When going for a swim or a bike ride, pick up the pace for a portion of your journey.
Cardiovascular exercise is a bit like your carbohydrate intake – a little can go a long way!
Not everyone has a sweet tooth, but when on offer it can be hard to resist. Your exercise dessert options are all those things you love to do. This might mean gardening, kicking the footy, hiking, or even running after the grandkids! These are the exercise options that make you smile and lose sense of time. Best of all, this type of dessert can be consumed absolutely guilt free!
Visit the website to learn more about the Strength for Life program.